YOU ARE NOT A NINJA!....or a Guru, or dynamic.


Here is a humorous look at words you might want to avoid using in your CV or at Interview.

1. "Innovative." Most companies claim to be innovative. Most people claim to be innovative. Most however, are not. That's okay, because innovation isn't a requirement for success. If you are innovative, don't say it. Prove it. Describe the products you've developed. Describe the processes you've modified. Give us something real so your innovation is unspoken but evident... which is always the best kind of innovative to be.
2. "World-class." Usain Bolt: world-class sprinter, Olympic medals to prove it. Lionel Messi: world-class footballer, four Ballon d'Or trophies to prove it. But what is a world-class professional or company? Who defines world-class? In your case? Probably just you.
3. "Authority." Like Margaret Thatcher said, "Power is like being a lady; if you have to say you are, you aren't." Show your expertise instead. Unless you can prove it, "an authority on social media" might simply mean you spend way too much time worrying about how many connections you have on LinkedIn.
4. "Results oriented." Really? You actually focus on doing what you are paid to do? How fresh.
5. "Global provider." The majority of businesses can sell goods or services worldwide; the ones that can't are fairly obvious. Only use "global provider" if that capability is not assumed or obvious; otherwise you just sound like a small company trying to appear big.
6. "Motivated." Never take credit for things you are expected to do – or supposed to be. If you aren’t motivated, don’t bother.
7. "Creative." When you see particular words often enough, they no longer make an impact. "Creative" is one of them. (Choose random LinkedIn profiles and look for the word creative as a drinking game and everyone will lose -- or win, depending on your perspective.) "Creative" is just one example. Others include extensive, effective, proven, influential, team player... some of those terms may truly describe you, but since they are also being used to describe everyone they've lost their impact.
8. "Dynamic." This word is misused. The dictionary description states "vigorously active and forceful," So, if you are those things then stay away from me please.
9. "Guru." People who try to be clever for the sake of being clever are anything but. Don't be a self-proclaimed ninja, sage, connoisseur, guerrilla, wonk, egghead... it's great when your customers affectionately describe you that way, but refer to yourself that way and it's obvious you're trying way too hard to impress other people – or yourself.
10. "Curator." Museums have curators. Libraries have curators. Tweeting links to stuff you find interesting doesn't make you a curator... or an authority or a guru.
11. "Passionate." I know many people disagree, but if you say you're incredibly passionate about, oh, re-writing a CV? To me, you sound over the top. The same is true if you're passionate about developing long-term customer solutions. Try the words focus, concentration, or specialisation instead. Or try "love," as in, "I love incorporating emerging and engaging techniques when re-writing a candidate's CV." For whatever reason, that works for me. Passion doesn't. (But maybe that's just a rare opinion?)
12. "Unique." Fingerprints are unique. Snowflakes are unique. You are unique – but the way you work probably isn't. That’s fine, because clients don't care about unique; they care about "better." Show you're better than the competition and in the minds of your customers you will be unique.
13. “Incredibly..." Check out some random bios and you'll find plenty of further-modified descriptors: "Incredibly passionate," "profoundly insightful," "extremely captivating..." isn't it enough to be insightful or captivating? Do you have to be profoundly insightful? If you must use over-the-top adjectives, spare us the further modification. Trust that we already get it.
14. "Entrepreneur." A few people start multiple, successful, long-term businesses. They are successful serial entrepreneurs.The rest of us start one business that fails or does okay, try something else, try something else, and keep on rinsing and repeating until we find a formula that works. Those people are entrepreneurs. Be proud if you're "just" an effective recruiter. You should be.
15. "Strategist." I sometimes help recruitment businesses improve productivity and quality. There are strategies I use to identify areas for improvement but I'm in no way a strategist. Strategists look at the present, envision something new, and develop approaches to make their vision a reality. I don't create something new; I apply my experience and a few proven methodologies to make improvements. Very few people are strategists. Most "so called strategists" are actually coaches, specialists, or consultants who use what they know to help others. 99% of the time that's what customers need – they don't need or even want a strategist.
16. "Collaborative." You won't just decide what's right for a client and force them to pay for it? Wow, that's so collaborative of you. If your processes are designed to take a client's input and feedback, tell me how that works. Describe the process. Don't claim to work in unison -- describe how you will.

So, if you are none of the above please feel free to contact me. However if you really are all of the adjectives above, then you must be a cross between Usain Bolt, Margaret Thatcher and Bill Gates in which case you need not apply!

PS of course some of this was plagiarised and refurbished for the purposes, of recruitment.....but Sharing is Flaring. Thanks to Jeff Haden and Nancy Owen.

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