Want to be a better job applicant? Do you want to be hired from your resume or receive a job offer straight after your interview? It might be worth looking at your language.
I’m not talking about adding the latest start up, corporate or leadership buzzwords or secret high flyers jargon to your repertoire. If that’s what you’re looking for, try the Shogarts Business Buzzword App You’ll be able to walk around uttering leadership gibberish such as “Moving forward, it’s time to act with strategic vigor and transform our team bandwidth “and “Looking forward to November, ideation will be key to our ability to impact the solutions holistically.”.
And if you’ve ever found yourself saying you will “reach out” to someone, don’t. Unless you’re a member of the Four Tops.
Unfortunately, I’m finding that sort of mumbo-jumbo increasingly common with job hunters nowadays. In fact, I could write a book about the many interviews I’ve had with people who used buzzwords to try to impress. Who were too busy thinking about their vertical and horizontal trajectories to actually explain to me what they could do.
In life, It’s all about language;
In life, whether you want to get a promotion, pay rise or a new job, you’ll succeed more often if you work on using the right language. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you add some powerful words and phrases to your vocabulary. Words that will engage and inspire, convince, motivate and encourage people to come up with ideas, and inspire commitment. (By the way, the latter is the most important, if you really want the job).
So, why don’t you take a look at my top 10 list of powerful words and phrases? It’s not a big or exhaustive list – just a collection I’ve picked up over the years – and please feel free to add your own in the comments section.
1. “How can I be a better leader?”
Credit goes to James Kouzes for this one. Variations of the question include “How can I be a better parent?” “How can I be a better spouse?” and “How can I be a better child?” Just make sure to listen and say …
Use these two powerful words as often as you can as a response to constructive feedback (which should be seen as a gift), positive feedback, as a way to express gratitude for going the extra mile or a job well done, or when someone brings bad news or a problem to your attention.
3. “Nice job.”
Variations include “good work” and “way to go.” And avoid the Ozzi version of “nice work” as it does sound a bit “tradie”. (No pun intended !) Giving positive reinforcement becomes even more powerful when it’s specific, timely, and when you can explain why (positive impact), …but let’s not over-complicate it too much for now.
4. “What do you think?”
Credit goes to David Stoop for this one. Asking someone for their opinion or ideas is the ultimate demonstration of respect. And when you get those ideas, don’t forget to go back to #2. In fact, go back to number two as often as you wish.
5. “I think I have an idea about how I could help”
Often used as a way to express support during a development discussion, in problem solving, when someone is going through personal difficulties, or when problems or ideas are brought to your attention. This is one of the most powerful phrases in job interviews.
6. “I’ve been thinking about “What’s possible?”
Credit goes to Robert H Schuler for teaching me the importance of “possibility thinking.” Instead of coming up with reasons why something won’t work, ask yourself and others “what’s possible”. And if they do come up with examples of how similar ideas have been tried in the past and have not worked, use the phrase “Up until now.” Get it? This could show you are the right man for the job.
7. “I don’t know.”
Use this when you truly don’t know the answer to a question or solution to a problem – it demonstrates humility and authenticity. It goes well with “what do you think” as a follow-up.
8. “Why is that important to you?”
This question demonstrates that you care, and you’ll learn a lot about the person’s motivation and values.
9. “Can you help me understand.”
A much better way to understand someone’s logic, reasoning, feelings, etc… than “really?!” or “seriously?!” or “what the heck are you smoking?!”
10. “I believe in.”
The hardest thing to challenge is someone’s believe. Phrasing “I believe in you or I believe in your product or company” makes you genuine. I may have saved the best for last. What a way to express confidence in someone’s ability or potential!
Good language is one of the most successful tools for any situation in life. I know what I am talking about. I earn my money through it and English is my second language. I love speaking and I love coaching and the only thing I get a real buzz out of is people securing a new job.
That’s why Alun Probert and I run our JobSearchCoaching business and we always remind our fans and clients to hunt wisely!