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CV writing: Words you should NEVER use

May 26, 2009 12:19 IST

While using the right words can strengthen your CV, the wrong words can cost you the opportunity to bag your dream job. You should ensure that you use the most suitable words to present your candidature but also make sure you do not use wrong or negative words and phrases.

There are certain words which are seen frequently on CVs but actually only serve to irritate recruiters/ interviewers and at times may even cost you the interview call, as they paint a misleading picture of you. In our last article, we saw 10 power words for your CV. This article explains the type of words you should not use on your CV. While you may choose to use them if necessary, for most situations they would be better left out. 

Responsible for
This is a very common set of words seen on CVs. While the candidates do not realize, these are a set of most irritating words selectors see on the CVs. Until you provide additional information to show them how did you help the organization with this responsibility, these words are meaningless.

For eg, it doesn't make any sense if you just say "Responsible for promoting the product in north region".

The selector would wonder: When? For how long? What was the outcome? and may finally dump your CV thinking that the candidate is not mature enough. However, if you write "Promoted the product XYZ in "alpha" districts of north India from 2004-2006 achieving a visibility of 75 per cent", it will definitely add value to your CV.

I failed
Never ever use the word "fail", "failed" in your CV. While there is nothing bad about failing in something you do. After all, it is only when one tries that one fails. However, mentioning it on your CV shows that you have nit been able to make your peace with it or recover from it. While you should not lie in your CV, it doe not mean that you need to bare your soul either. Discuss such issues only if asked.

I hate my boss 
is another thing which you can absolutely do without on your CV. Discuss only when asked and even then, do not rant and rave. There are chances that the person interviewing you might know your current/ ex-boss. 

I've been laid off
Lay offs are hitting almost every sector and noone is really safe. It need not necessarily be your fault that you were laid off, it could just be the effect of the current market situation. So, you don't need to  mention the fact that you have been laid off on your CV. If you are called for the interview, you can address the issue then. 

I suffer from...
Do not write about your health problems on your CV. They might be minor but may end up costing you an interview call. If you have a break in your career owing to health problems, leave them to be discussed in the interview, if asked.

Family ties
Unless you are applying for a job where the employer has to bear the expenses of your family or the information is going to have an impact on your working conditions, this information is useless to the interviewer.

Political affiliations and inclinations
You may have a political affiliation or inclination but your CV or interview is not the place to talk about it.

Kshipra Singh is a contributor to, a website that addresses technical and personal aspects of an interview. 

Kshipra Singh