Words are powerful

Words can inspire, motivate, and heal.

They can also hurt, humiliate, and destroy.

The words you write or speak to others can have a huge impact and leave a lasting impression – good or bad.

Words can make or break relationships.

They can help you land the interview or get you disqualified.

How you express yourself can boost your career or kill it

This is why it’s critical to choose your words wisely when you are engaged in any form of communication during your job search and throughout your professional life and also applies to the creation of your résumé, cover letter, Linkedin profile, and all other career marketing documents.

Communicating your value

Your main goal during the job search is to market your value to a prospective employer. To do this effectively, you need to clearly and confidently communicate the top 4 criteria the employer is seeking.

#1 – You understand the job

#2 – You can do the job

#3 – You will do the job 

#4 – You won’t pose a hiring risk.

The hiring manager needs to believe that YOU believe that you can do those 4 things. They want to see your confidence and conviction.

This is why the language you use in your career marketing documents and during the interviews is so important. Your choice of words and the way you deliver them can make all the difference.

Express yourself well

When employers say that the candidate “didn’t interview well” or they “weren’t a fit”, they often mean that the candidate didn’t express themselves well during a phone interview or face-to-face meeting.

The language and the way it was delivered did not exude the qualities that the hiring manager was looking for. 

6 ways to up your game 

#1:  DO NOT use weak language

From the hiring manager’s perspective, weak language signals that the candidate is indecisive, uncertain, non-committal, and lacks confidence.

Avoid using these words in your career marketing documents and interviews:

I hope

Hopefully

With any luck

I guess

I think

I suppose

I’ll try

If possible

Ideally

If all goes well

Weak language can stem from the feeling of uncertainty during the job search process. Being nervous during an interview and being afraid of saying something “wrong” can often render a candidate tongue-tied or they blurt out something lame. 

This is understandable, but don’t let these negative feelings control what comes out of your mouth. You need to be conscious of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.

#2:  DO use strong language

Notice that I say strong. This doesn’t mean that the words have to be big and complicated. In fact, quite the opposite.

Keep your words and the way you say things simple, clear, and to the point while ensuring that the words you use portray you as confident and decisive but not arrogant – there is a fine line.

Using strong words in your career marketing collateral and during interviews will make the hiring manager confident that you believe in what you have to offer. 

The kind of words you should use include:

I will

I’m ready

I can’t wait to

I can

I know

I’m certain

I’m sure

I’m confident

I have

I intend

I would love to

I’m excited about

#3:  Strengthen all forms of communication

You want to be consistent with using strong language across all verbal and written forms of communication such as your:

  • Résumé
  • Cover letter
  • Phone conversation
  • Interview
  • Follow up letter/email
#4:  Minimize conversation “fillers” and résumé “fluff”

During phone, video, and face-to-face meetings, speak decisively and assertively. Chose your words carefully to avoid filling in the blanks with things like Umm, You know, and Like. 

It’s actually better to pause for a second or two to collect your thoughts than to fill in the space with these useless words that mean nothing and only reduce the quality of your communication.

In terms of your résumé, make every word count. Cut out any words that don’t need to be there such as unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

#5:  Use appropriate language

As I’ve already pointed out, you don’t have to use big words – just choose your words carefully and make sure they present you as being decisive and confident.

Make sure the language you use is also suitable for your target position.  

For instance, an executive level position will typically require a more formal way of expressing ideas and concepts than someone who’s in the early stages of their career.

#6:  Keep it professional

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t use slang words or too much industry jargon unless it is considered appropriate for the position you are targeting.

Dropping an f-bomb or using other curse words is also not recommended unless you know the interviewer on a personal level and you’re 100% confident they would be okay with that.

In my opinion, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep the language professional and swear-free. If you get too familiar and lower your guard, it can backfire – even with someone you “know”.

Here are some examples 

 

Question #1:  Why should we hire you? How can you help us?

DO NOT SAY –  “I guess I’ll be able to use my skills and experience in X to help you with Y”  

Does this sound self-assured and ready to get down to business?

SAY THIS INSTEAD –   “I am able to do X and Y that would help your company achieve Z. Here’s an example of how I did that for ABC company” (Briefly walk them through a specific example of a key contribution).  

This is obviously much stronger than the first response because it’s clear, to the point, and decisive. Plus, the candidate offers evidence of a specific and relevant accomplishment.

Question #2:  What’s your 5 to 10 year career plan?

DO NOT SAY– “I’m not sure. I guess I would hope to have moved up the ranks by then.”  

The “I’m not sure” was bad enough but the “I guess” really took it down a few more notches. Also, “moving up the ranks” doesn’t sound professional.

SAY THIS INSTEAD – “My goal is to progress into a leadership position. I intend on achieving that by the 5 year mark. I’m committed to completing the required professional development and have already started the process. The next 5 years would be focused on further developing my leadership skills and to take on more responsibilities. By the 10 year mark, I see myself in a Senior Vice President position.”

This person really knows what they want and have expressed it confidently without being cocky. They obviously have a plan and are committed to their success.

If you’re not sure how to properly express yourself verbally or in writing, feel free to reach out for some guidance.

There’s more help below…

Create a résumé that converts into interviews

The scary fact is, only about 2% to 3% of résumés actually result in interviews. To boost your chances, you need a résumé that has a higher rate of converting into interviews. Click on the button below and get started on creating a higher-converting résumé.

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Hi! I’m Diana.

I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.

Need help? That’s what I’m here for!

Are you in the midst of a job search and not getting the results you want? Or, are you employed and not actively looking but want to “get ready” in case your situation changes and you need to launch a job search?

Don’t get caught in the endless cycle of applying to jobs, hearing little to nothing, and becoming more frustrated.

I offer both “Done-For-You” and “DIY” options to help you overcome the obstacles and get you on the right track to accelerate your job landing success. You choose the level of service you feel you need that fits your budget.

Maybe all you need is a quick résumé critique. If your search is complicated, a more comprehensive package might be the solution. Or, it could be something in between. You’ve got options!

You can learn more about my professional background here and about how I can help you here.

To find out how I can help you, email me here or set up a quick chat with me here.