Why Too Much Gobblefunking Can Make Your CV Meaningless

This Friday sees the release of Steven Spielberg’s film of Roald Dahl’s BFG. The gentle giant, plagued by the “twitch-tickling” problem of “squiff-squiddling” words – something affecting many CVs.

Back at the start of the year management writer and visiting professor at Cass Business School Stefan Stern wrote a scathing article about the kind of words people use in CVs and online profiles like LinkedIn.

Buzzword Boo-Boos

Apparently the CV has become so cliche-ridden that LinkedIn revealed its Top 10 of most over-used buzzwords:

Motivated
Creative
Enthusiastic
Track record
Passionate
Successful
Driven
Leadership
Strategic
Extensive experience

LinkedIn’s head of consumer PR explained:

​“We wouldn’t describe ourselves as ‘strategic’, ‘driven’ or as having ‘extensive experience’ in real life situations, so why do it on a LinkedIn profile?” Tweet: We wouldn’t describe ourselves as strategic in real life situations, so why do it on a CV? @Angel_HR_UK #AngelView goo.gl/hVe9fl
Empty words says Stern reveal “inert thinking”. And, none of us want to be perceived as ‘chemically inactive’ do we!?

What to Say Instead?

Well, Stern recommends looking to George Orwell:

Never use a term or figure of speech you’re used to seeing in print – take that ninjas!
Don’t use long words where a short one will do – no more supercalifragilisticexpialidocious thanks!
If you can cut a word out, always cut it out – note to self!

Attract the Right Employer

Whether or not you take these tips on board his real point was that when applying for a job yes, follow the key application rules, but be authentic:

“We should tell a potential employer who we are, in plain terms. If they are looking for someone like us, good. If not we will have avoided the unpleasant experience of getting stuck in a job that didn’t really suit us.”

Examples & Keywords vs. Buzzwords

Let’s be clear. It’s not using words like hard working or passionate are wrong, it’s that they don’t tell an employer anything in themselves. You need to backup your information with examples, not jargon. Tweet: You need to backup your information with examples, not jargon. @Angel_HR_UK #AngelView goo.gl/hVe9fl

​​That said it is important to know words pertinent to your industry and to sprinkle them into your CV or application where appropriate. Always look to the job description and use that as a guide for the types of words you should be using.

Last Words

As the BFG said: “Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”

Next Steps:

Which words do you think are overused? Need help formulating your CV? If you’re looking for a new role let us know!

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