Are you a CV cliché? Analysis of over a half a million CVs reveals the top buzzwords seen by UK employers

December 10 2019 , 0 Comments

CV cliches

Analysis of over 500,000 UK CVs has revealed the most common CV buzzwords seen by prospective employers. Job search engine Adzuna has scoured through the CVs on its platform to bring to light the UK’s most common job-hunting clichés, revealing the number of CVs in which they appear, and the amount of times the words or phrases have been used in total. 

Work ethic and a good attitude are clearly important skills to demonstrate for UK job hunters, with ‘motivated’ topping the list as the most used buzzword in UK CVs. ‘Motivated’ was found in over 278,000 CVs and appearing 312,000 times in total. ‘Initiative’ follows closely behind, featuring in over 256,000 CVs. 

The data shows that alongside core skills, an active social life is deemed an important quality to present, with ‘social’ featuring in over 207,000 CVs - in many cases used more than once in an application – and appearing 372,000 times in total. 

Less commonly used words include ‘assertive’, found in just 8,171 CVs followed by ‘good sense of humour’ and ‘fun’ featuring in just 19,000 and 23,000 respectively. 

 

Top 10 CV buzzwords 

Term

Number of CVs containing term at least once

Total term count

1

Motivated

278,057

312,090

2

Initiative

256,027

297,723

3

Social

207,092

372,265

4

Organised

175,188

216,707

5

Friendly

173,978

206,463

6

Leader

152,153

226,789

7

Experienced

151,102

192,575

8

Hardworking

140,828

147,290

9

Outgoing

89,191

102,825

10

Driven

71,666

82,707

 

 

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: ‘Job hunters have a fine balance to strike when it comes to crafting a great CV. Whilst many employers now look for keywords in applications to help refine lists of applicants, it’s important to choose your skill-set and attributes wisely. Moving away from recycled buzzwords like ‘motivated’ and ‘initiative’ could be the very factor that sets your own CV apart from someone else’s.’

‘When choosing words to describe yourself and your skill-set, consider the kind of skills that are really relevant for the exact industry and job role that you are applying for – that way, the key things your employer is looking for will be covered and you’ll have avoided a lot of the repetitive words that can turn off a prospective employer’ 


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