Thursday, 24 March 2016

“Out-of-the-box thinkers” able to take a “helicopter view” are 72% less likely to get a job

CVs that claim to be able to take a ‘helicopter view,’ be ‘results-orientated’ or ‘out-of-the-box thinkers’ capable of ‘shifting the paradigm’ are 72% less likely to get candidates through to interview or to secure a job because they contain so much jargon.*

The research, undertaken by O2, forms part of their Think Big programme which is designed to help young people build their skills and employability and the gap between education and the workplace.

O2 Think Big found that one third of employers spend a minute or less reading each CV they receive, making snap judgments. They say that over-use of jargon, spelling or grammar errors or over-designed CVs mean they will immediately reject a candidate’s application.

Now, the top ten worst pieces of management speak that crop up in resumes from candidates has been identified. The research asked those involved in recruitment at UK companies to pick out the worst pieces of jargon and then rank them based on their (over) use.

The worst pieces of CV jargon
1.       “Able to take a helicopter view” (23%)
2.       “Shifting the paradigm” (18%)
3.       “Blue sky thinking” (14%)
4.       “Out-of-the-box thinking” (13%)
5.       “Results-orientated” (7%)
6.       “Road-mapping” (5%)
7.       “Strong interpersonal skills” (5%)
8.       “Leveraging my skills” (5%)
9.       “Critical thinker” (4%)
10.   “Dynamic team player” (4%)

To help combat the problem of jargon-use in CVs, O2 Think Big has teamed up with, the UK’s largest digital volunteering service, to launch a free mobile app (available for Android and for iOS in the near future) called Gro ( The new tool – primarily aimed at young people who may be hunting for their first role in the world of work – helps them to translate volunteering and extra-curriculum activities into language that is recognised, understood and valued by employers.

For example, if a young person has mentored or coached someone, the app will point to their listening skills. If they’ve fundraised for a charitable cause, Gro will highlight their creativity, influencing skills and trustworthiness. If they’ve campaigned for a cause they believe in, Gro will pick out their skills in communication as well as motivating and convincing others to get involved.

A recent report from CIPD encourages more employers to include questions about volunteering and social action as part of the selection process – in order to unlock young people’s “hidden talents” and experiences. According to the #iwill campaign, approximately 3 million people aged between 10 and 20 years old (12%) have undertaken volunteering and social action activity across the UK, but need help to translate the skills and experience they gain through volunteering into “CV speak”.

Jamie Ward-Smith, CEO at comments:  “Volunteering can provide amazing opportunities to boost career development. Enabling young people to translate their social action experiences into CV friendly terms that can impress prospective employers is a great way to demonstrate this and give young volunteers a boost in a competitive jobs market. The new Gro mobile app does just that and we’re thrilled to have worked together with O2 to launch this important new tool.”

To find out more and download the free Gro app, visit

* research conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults on 23 November 2015, of whom 49% who responded “Yes, I regularly review CVs from prospective candidates as part of my job role” were used as the base.

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