What not to say in an application

13-10-2005

Never say "never" but always mention your "achievement", is the advice for job hunters trying to fill in application forms. Admissions advisers and psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire have drawn up a list of the 10 top words to make a good impression in applications.

They have also listed the 10 worst words, including "hate" and "nothing".

This advice also tells applicants not to say "mistakes" but to mention their "valuable lessons".

'Don't panic'

If applicants are worried about having too many valuable lessons, the Hertfordshire academics also recommend avoiding other less than positive words, such as "panic", "problems" and "awful".

APPLICATION FORM WORDS
10 Best: Achievement, active, developed, evidence, experience, impact, individual, involved, planning, transferable skills
10 Worst: Always, awful, bad, fault, hate, mistake, never, nothing, panic, problems

None of these words is a good way of selling your skills to employers, suggest the academics.

If you want to push more positive buttons, there is a list of feel-good words for applications, which will produce a more appreciative reaction.

These good words include "experience", "involved", "planning" and "developed".

The advisers say companies or universities will see many similar application letters - and that the choice of language generates a positive or negative impression.

For instance, over-emphatic words such as "never" and "always" could give a negative impression that "the applicant is making an exaggeration which is seldom true".

"Every recruiter and admissions officer will have to assess hundreds if not thousands of personal statements from hopeful applicants and will make their decisions based on what they can see on paper.

"Choosing the right words is therefore vitally important if your application is to stand out from the rest," says Karen Pine, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire.

BBC News

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