Those swots over at LinkedIn have done a survey and found some of the most overused words, like, literally, ever. Well, no, not ever. That was just us trying to prove a point. These are the most over-used words on the LinkedIn website, and they also happen to be the most over-used words on job applications. So what do we do about this? Well, we’re going to explain to you why these phrases are such clichés and why you should avoid them, then we’ll suggest some better words to use.


This is a pretty empty statement, something which is sort of a given. If you’re bothering to set up an up-to-date Linked In/CV or a timely job application then an employer will pretty much assume that you’re motivated until you prove otherwise. Instead of saying you’re motivated, give an example of something that motivates you, or an example of a time when you’ve been motivated to change a situation before, either in the workplace or on a placement.


Creativity is totally important in the media sector. But creativity isn’t really something you can get across in one word. Again, BE creative in your application to show you’re creative. Present it nicely and use your creative skills to make it look good. Try designing it on InDesign, add in subtle colour schemes, use simple but striking fonts.

“Track Record”

Don’t mention having a ‘track record’ in anything, because your CV is your best track record. If you’ve got proven experience of doing stuff and it’s well presented and displayed on your CV, then that’ll prove your track record much better than you saying ‘I’ve got a great track record’. Come to an interview well-armed with mental notes of examples when you have been really great. If you want to convince people that you’re great, use examples. Show, don’t tell.


Instead of saying you’re effective, once again, BE effective. Get your job application in well before the deadline and make sure it’s full of EXAMPLES.


Have you ever herded children over minefields? Are you regularly left in charge of locking up at work? Do you juggle several projects at once? Have you been sent away from your offices to do a chore/a presentation in an office full of strangers? Do you seal the deal at work? These are all great examples of actual responsibility. So mention them in your CV and you won’t even need to drop the r-bomb!


The worst thing about letting ‘innovative’ become a cliché is that it ends up becoming exactly the opposite of what it should mean. When ‘innovation’ is used in the media world, it means adapting to a changing an environment and taking on new technologies to improve your work. So if you’re good with digital stuff, prove it – get an online blogfolio (cringe name but good idea), make a YouTube CV, create a Soundcloud account with podcasts. If you’ve got access to technology and a lot of spare time on your hands, don’t let it be endless Facebook stalking and Xbox-tapping – use your time and tools wisely!

“Extensive Experience”

Yet again, the best way to prove your extensive experience is to get that experience and put it onto your CV. If you haven’t had that much experience in a relevant field and you don’t have the time/money to go about interning forever (no-one should), then don’t shy away from mentioning that bar/retail/temping work you’ve had. It proves you’ve got skills that can be used in any sort of non-technical job!

“Wide Range”

As above. Prove your wide-ranging experience by showing it in your CV. If you don’t have billions of placements under your belt, don’t worry. You could explain how you’ve done lots of different things in the one job you’ve had for two years, instead.

“Communication Skills”

Talking to someone is perhaps the most normal, ancient thing you can do. So to give it a name like ‘communication skills’ is to take all of its power away and make it seem about as personable and friendly as a calculator.


Although being able to take things apart and make a judgment on them (in a work context, not in an X Factor ‘what on earth are you singing’ way) is important, you don’t have to say it on your CV/covering letter. You can prove this by selecting, from your CV, all the things you want to include in your covering letter. It is a tricky job, tailoring a cover letter – but try to only give examples of work you’ve done that is directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your CV is then for them to look at ALL of the stuff you’ve done.

Are there any other CV clichés out there that wind you right up? Let us know in the comments box below or via our Twitter or Facebook.