Word that’s an automatic ‘career killer’


AN AUSSIE recruiter has revealed the words every jobseeker should ban from their CVs - including one that could be an instant "career killer".

Michael Berger, the founder and director of Brisbane-based engineering and construction recruitment firm Talent Blueprint, told news.com.au there were several words and phrases that instantly raised alarm bells for recruiters and employers alike.

"While certain words and phrases can be more acceptable from industry to industry, whether you're washing dishes, driving trucks or applying for a marketing manager role of an ASX firm, never put these words on your CV and your chances will be on the up," he said.

The biggest offender? The word "unemployed".

"If you have had the odd gap between jobs in your career, the last thing you want to do is highlight it to the world with this career killer of a word," he explained.

"It's a choice of word without a lot of positivity - it implies you're unemployable and can't get a job.

"If you've been renovating your home, travelling or caring for a loved one, say that - don't label it as being 'unemployed', be more creative."

He said the word conjured up the "worst connotations" and that jobseekers should instead be honest about what they were actually doing while out of work.

Two other specific words Mr Berger said should be avoided are "hardworking" and "honest".

He said they could be used if a referee specifically chose to highlight those attributes but should otherwise be avoided as they were vague and overused.

"It's more important to illustrate what you've done quantitatively or qualitatively - so if you're a forklift driver, illustrate how many pallets you deliver in a day," he explained.

"But there's no proof in just saying you're an honest or hardworking person. Recruiters or employers are not going to be excited by those words alone - you have to justify exactly why you're so hardworking and honest."

Next, he advised against including unnecessary personal information such as your date of birth, marital status, ID number, primary school or street address.

"You have limited time to make a good impression," he said.

"That information is just noise really. Recruiters are looking at this stuff all the time and they might only spend 10 seconds looking at a CV so don't include words they won't care about.

"Your resume is like a sales brochure so don't include small 'fluff' details."

Words like ‘unemployed’, ‘honest’ and ‘hardworking’ should be banned from your CV. Picture: iStock
Words like ‘unemployed’, ‘honest’ and ‘hardworking’ should be banned from your CV. Picture: iStock

Mr Berger, who has more than 18 years of experience in recruitment, said there were also specific words that should be avoided once you score an interview - and the first is "I".

"Businesses are made up of teams and the ability to work within these is critical," he said.

"The 'I' word is OK, but it must be balanced - so, for example, a sentence like 'I was awarded the most innovative engineer in Australia' must be balanced with something like 'it helped my team get exposed to new technologies and developed our graduates'.

"It changes the whole tone and makes you think, this person is a gun but also cares about bringing their team along with them."

Another pet hate is the use of the word "learn" in relation to an industry's core skills, as it implies the jobseeker isn't confident or qualified.

"In the majority of cases no employer wants a learner. They want someone battle ready and ready to be productive," Mr Berger said.

"Using this word when discussing core aspects of the role expresses that you're not ready or just not confident in your ability."

Finally, one of the biggest job interview mistakes is the use of the word "hate".

"Hate is a strong word, and it is immature and sends a message about you being a difficult or bitter person to deal with and generally not a positive individual," Mr Berger said.

"Never say something like, 'I hate menial tasks, regional travel, managing people or my previous boss'.

"If I hear a phrase like that it's a real eye-opener - instead you could say something like, 'I'm better utilised in a customer-facing role than in admin' - there's got to be a balance and a positive spin."

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