You've finally got a job interview after having waited for so long, which will hopefully allow you to get the internship, work placement or job of your dreams! You're so excited that you can already imagine yourself strolling down the corridors of the company's offices. The only thing that's left to do now is go face-to-face with the interviewer to prove to them just how perfect you are for the job.
Except, there are hundreds of motivated, dynamic and enthusiastic candidates for the job, all ready to give their all to get the job of their dreams.
So, how can you convince the interviewer that you are the perfect person for the company, and stand out from the competition? By avoiding the use of the same phrases and clichés that employers are sick and tired of hearing over and over again, perhaps... But what are they? And how can you describe yourself in an original and unique way?
We've all used it at one point...
Let's be honest, who hasn't, at least once in their life, described themselves as dynamic, motivated, creative, passionate and ready for anything
? Whether it's to get a place on a special program or find an internship or job, applications are (almost) all the same. CVs and cover letters regurgitate the same sentences whose purpose is to make you the ideal candidate, when in reality you're only "young, ambitious and passionate"
Unfortunately, these words we hope will make us stand out and appeal to employers often have the opposite effect, and make us just like all the others
(which definitely not the purpose of your job application!).
According to LinkedIn
, we all have the annoying habit of using the same adjectives and expressions to describe ourselves, some of which include:
- Dynamic, determined
- With a long experience
We can perhaps add to the list: "ambitious", "independent" and "hard-working".
Buy why don't these words work?
Put simply, because these words, which are often too vague, make you seem like everyone else and make you lose your "uniqueness"
Put yourself in the place of the employer: you're looking for a young graduate to fill a junior role in your company and, as it's a highly-sought after position, you want to be sure of finding THE perfect candidate,
who corresponds perfectly with the company values, but is also unique and complementary to other employees. So, when you see dozens, even hundreds, of CV
s and cover letters
, in which the majority of applicants describe themselves as "dynamic" and "motivated", the hope that you might find your diamond in the dust tends to waver.
What's more, these words often lack any sense
and don't speak to those reading or hearing them. "I'm dynamic". Very well, but in concrete terms, what does that actually mean? We use these words even though they don't describe our real personalities which we want the interviewer to see. So how can you show your real personality and, more importantly, what adjectives and expressions should you use to do so?
Say little, but say it well!
Even if you want to show the employer that you are the ideal candidate for the role, there's no point using words just for the sake of saying them and filling up silence. Not only will you come across just like everyone else, but you say absolutely nothing about your personality and who you really are.
During a job interview and for your job application in general, even if it's difficult, try to describe yourself using words that actually describe you and, most importantly, use concrete examples
. Saying that you're dynamic and motivated, ready to do whatever it takes to complete your duties at work, doesn't give much information to the employer. Perhaps the only thing it says is that you're not so lazy that all you do is sit and twiddle your thumbs (but if they've already invited you for an interview, it's because they already know that). On the other hand, saying that you worked or volunteered for a society alongside your studies, because you like contributing to the improvement of student life and fundraising... lets them know a little more about you!
Don't be afraid of being honest. Highlight your qualities and take the time to explain who you are,
what you like doing and why you deserve a place in the company. There's no point going over the top and reciting your whole cover letter, as though you were getting ready to write your autobiography. Sometimes saying less but saying it the right way is just as effective (yes, even in a professional environment "Less is more
" is good advice).
Not saying you're dynamic doesn't mean you're lazy and unmotivated - other adjectives can describe this aspect of your personality, such as enterprising, vigorous, energetic
, and especially your soft skills
. Not only do this prove to employers that you have a rich and varied vocabulary, but it also allows you to give an example to help illustrate these qualities: "I would describe myself as vigorous because...". Employers particularly appreciate action verbs and expressions which show real results, such as "obtained/carried out", "improved", "created", "managed", "won", "implemented", etc.
Standing out in during the application process isn't an easy task. We all want to get the job of our dreams and prove to interviews that our profile is THE best, but stop repeating over and over again how "motivated" you are for the position. Show how unique you are and prove your originality by thinking about what it is that makes you who you are and therefore the ideal candidate for the job. Don't hesitate to use examples, to tell them about your past experience, share a personal anecdote... whatever it takes to replace the empty adjectives and expressions, heard all too often. It's up to you to find the right words, words that make sense for employers and especially for you ;)
Article by Charlotte Ardito, translated by Cherie Gamble.