One of the biggest crimes that job seekers and CV writers are guilty of is repeatedly duplicating adjectives when describing their personal attributes and strengths.
What are we talking about, you ask? Glad you asked. Consider the following three examples of a candidate describing their personal attributes on their CV:
Excellent … communication skills
Very good … management skills
Strong … technical skills
Using the same adjective more than once is not a very good idea. Really.
Besides making your CV look dull, it is also quite annoying. What would a prospective employer think when they see a CV that contains the following list:
What does this tell you?
It tells a prospective employer: you have a problem with expressing yourself in different, creative and meaningful ways. An employer will sit there, staring at a CV of an unfortunate candidate and ask themselves ‘why, oh why, can’t this candidate express themselves in any different way, besides as ‘excellent’ or ‘good?‘
That is the hard reality.
This is where a Thesaurus comes in.
A Thesaurus will tell you all the similar words or phrases that have the same meaning for a given word but which are expressed differently. These words and phrases are known as synonyms. To give you an idea, let us look at our favourite word, “excellent”….
The synonyms for excellent are:
As the above diagram illustrates, the first three words (outstanding, brilliant, and exceptional) can easily replace all the 32 excellent’s that you have used on your CV (so far)!
The other two words (tremendous and superb) which we have marked with a red cross may come over as unrealistic and arrogant, and it is best to avoid these.
Microsoft Word (2007):
The following are some of the ways in which you can describe your strengths:
In conclusion, we’ll leave you with some food for thought:
‘’What’s another word for a Thesaurus?”