Career clichés that make you look like a duck

There are a many career clichés that make you look like a duck   What are they, why do people use them and how to stand out uniquely?  These and more questions (and ducks) follow in this article.

Now, unless you are a food group you are not ‘seasoned’.  And unless comatose you will mostly likely be a ‘problem solver’.   And everyone is ‘passionate’ about something.

These clichés are amongst the most useless and boring to litter resumes and LinkedIn profiles of marketing and other professionals.

They are as inspiring as wet toast in a cave and won’t do personal brands or job search endeavours any favours.

My sore eyes reading clichés 

As an ex recruiter, I still keep a bottle of Visine on hand to soothe my long injured eyeballs.  You see my eyes used to fall backwards in my head and get blurry from reading the same trite descriptions that could apply to thousands of other candidates.

You want to sound inspiring and unique, not a carbon copy of any other Tom, Dick or Mary.   It all can start to feel a little like Stepford Wives as vanilla replicas of each other.

The irony of expertise vs application

 It’s quite ironic isn’t it that experts don’t always translate their own chops to themselves.  Hairdressers with horrid hair styles, car mechanics driving bombs, builders living in dumps and financial planners in debt.  I could go on but you get the drift eh.

And as for marketing and creative experts, they can often struggle with writing about themselves, despite communicating their client’s brilliance with unique eloquence.

Look it’s hard to see the label when you are in your own jar.  And if introverted, it can be particularly cumbersome to write a resume or profile with personal pizazz. 

Remember reality statement s are not value judgements so it’s perfectly ok (and indeed imperative) to share what you actually did to back up a statement of claim. 

So time to rejig guys and gals. 

As 2023 is approaching and things will be heating up in the job and business market.  We are already seeing many technical marketing peeps become redundant and a change of guard.  The competition in 2023 will be back on.

22 Clichés to ditch

These are the 22 most overused clichés and boring phrases on LinkedIn profiles and resumes.   They can also relay a perception of being lazy, uncreative and even pompous and unaware.  Perception matters and phrases that are over cooked just fall flat.

And using multiple clichés is just a jargon infested word head ache fest.  For example are you really a:

“Determined self motivated problem solver who has excellent written and verbal communication skills” Yawn!  

OR a 

“Seasoned, passionate results driven people person with a proven history who thinks outside the box” Yawn!

  1. Excellent written & verbal communication skills
  2. People person
  3. Results orientated /Results driven
  4. Seasoned
  5. Highly motivated
  6. Team player
  7. Love a challenge
  8. Bottom line focussed
  9. Problem solver
  10. Self starter
  11. Determined
  12. Thinks outside the box
  13. Passionate
  14. Highly organised
  15. Strong attention to detail
  16. Exceeded expectations
  17. Enthusiastic
  18. Hard worker
  19. Innovative
  20. Thought leader
  21. A proven background (or proven anything)
  22. Authentic  

How to differentiate  yourself 

Showing not stating is essential on resumes and Linked In profiles. Adding context, stories and examples cut the cloth from banal to exciting. 

Demonstrate your chops (skills) and personality within a narrative not a cliché. Stating without context is like a roast dinner without vegetables – what’s the point!

If you do use any of these cliché you must expand and with more detail and colour and examples.   And always write in the 1st person not 3rd.  Keep the 3rd for bio’s and conferences thanks.

And final tip.  The phrase thought leader is self-proclaimed and thrown around like lollies these days.  It’s for other people to bestow that label not for self proclamation on resumes or LinkedIn,

So go and stand out, demonstrate your chops and show your unique brilliance with flair. No ducks thanks.


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