Should you use buzzwords on your CV – “Let’s throw this around”

Should you use buzzwords on your CV – “Let’s throw this around”Firstly, it is worth remembering that there are different kinds of buzzwords. Essentially there are ones that are relevant to current practice, and there are buzzwords that make you want to cheerfully throw someone out of a window.

When it comes to the latter, I am sure we could “throw that concept around” or “Open up a dialogue” on the subject. We could “Marinade on the topic” or “Think outside the box” before we “Move forward” and “Lock in our final answer” then “Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes”.

Had enough? The ‘management speak’ kind of buzzword is something most people generally find annoying when it is used in excess. Should you use it on you CV? I think we can all agree on no.

The other kind of buzzword is a more difficult decision though.

In almost every industry there are a series of words that mean something to the people who work within it. Computing is probably the one that immediately springs to mind, but it’s true of every industry. It even extends to job descriptions. I suspect few of us actually know what a Wheeltapper is or a what a Fettler does unless you have worked in the appropriate industry.

So should you use industry or job specific buzzwords on your CV?

The answer to this is not quite as easy as the first examples because it depends on a few factors. You want your CV to tell the reader about you and what you can do. Buzzwords can be a barrier to clear language but, and this is the difficult part, they may be day to day language in your job. The best solution is probably to ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Is it the most appropriate word? Some buzzwords are the only word that really describes the function of something or the kind of work you did.
  2. Is it going to people who are guaranteed to understand the word? If so then you are probably OK to use it because in those circumstances they person reading your CV is likely to expect to see the word anyway.
  3. Is it self-explanatory? Although all those terrible phrases at the beginning of this article are fairly annoying, it’s quite clear what they mean. The main reason for not using jargon and buzzwords in your CV is that they tend to make reading difficult. If it is clear what the word means then it’s less of a worry.

Overall you should probably avoid using buzzword language if you can, but if you feel it is needed or expected then, as long as you are sure, use it sparingly.

In fact, you can probably bring it all down to one simple rule ‘If in doubt, leave it out’.

If you have had any good or bad examples of buzzwords at work or on a CV, we would love to hear them.

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