Four Meaningless Phrases to Delete from Your Next Job Application

Writing a decent job application is a skill unto its own. It involves a direct knowledge of what someone else wants to read and the best way to convey it so that you’re being clear and precise. Some of the words which we use to describe ourselves in job applications might sound good but won’t have much impact without a lot of explanation. Here are just a few.

‘Interpersonal’

Here’s the good news: If you’re alive, you have interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills cover the entire spectrum of communication which allows us to interact with other people. We learn these skills as children to allow us to get what we want (often by crying and throwing our toys on the floor). If you want to say you’re good at talking to people, you need to show specific examples. Asking for a cup of coffee with sugar is not the same as placating an irate client over the phone.

‘Passionate’

It doesn’t matter what you’re applying for, there will always be parts of the job which will be boring. No one is passionate about long meetings, huge stacks of filing or difficult clients. To say you are passionate about these things sounds disingenuous.

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If you have a genuine emotional connection to the role you are applying for, tell a story. Just dropping the word ‘passionate’ in there will ensure your application gets lost among a list of over-enthusiastic university graduates who are desperate for any job.

‘Proactive’

If you have to tell someone you’re pro-active, then you’re leaving a window open for them to disagree. This is something which can only be decided by someone else once they’ve seen you in action. What did you do and how did you go above and beyond your means to achieve it?

‘Team player’

This is a phrase which will pop up on many job descriptions but means nothing at all on an application. It’s a quick way of saying that you need to be able to work with other people without being a jerk however no employer is going to accept this without an example. Some ways that you can show what a friendly, approachable person that you are include a problem you solved, a description of your role in a collaborative project or a time when you accepted criticism and adapted your work to suit other members of staff.

Did I miss any out? Have you read any job applications which have had you totally confused? Or are you a dynamic, go-getting, blue-sky-thinking team player with great interpersonal skills and you’re not afraid to show it? Let me know in the comments.

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