Winning with Your Words

October 20, 2011

by Brenda Cody

We’ve all heard the childhood idiom: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Well, if you’re a job seeker, words CAN hurt you and your chances of getting hired.  The words used in your job search must be carefully selected at every stage of your job search.  Let’s start at the beginning.

First, there are the words you use to describe what you’re looking for – what type of job you want.  If you tell someone you’re looking for a job and they

Find Your Words

ask what you’re looking for and you say “Oh, anything, I just need a job”.  The listener doesn’t know how to help you.  Who should they refer you to?  Who should they introduce you to?  They have no idea, because the words you used didn’t give them any real information about how they can help you.  So, yes, the words you use to describe what you’re looking for can hurt you.

Second, your resume is nothing but words and if you don’t use the right keywords, or use words that don’t fully describe the value you would bring to a potential employer, then your resume will end up in the ‘no’ pile.  If you focus your resume on your previous responsibilities and duties vs. results and achievements, then yes, the words you use on your resume will hurt you.

Third, the words you use in your job interviews can definitely hurt your chances of getting hired.  If you aren’t fully prepared to talk about why you’re the perfect candidate for the opportunity you’re applying for, then you have no chance of getting a job offer.  Remember, in a job interview, they are looking for ANY reason to disqualify you.  One lame answer and you could be out.  In a job interview, the words you chose can hurt you.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, the words you say to yourself ultimately impact your job search success.  If you’ve said any of the following to yourself, you have directly affected your confidence, enthusiasm and motivation for your job search:

  • “I’ll never get hired”
  • “I don’t know why I’m bothering with this application”
  • “They’ll never call me back”
  • “There are no jobs out there”
  • “No one can help me”
  • “No one understands what I’m going through”
  • “I completely blew that interview so I won’t follow-up with them”
  • “This is too hard”

Don’t think these words can hurt you?  Think again. Sticks and stones can break your bones AND the words you use throughout your job search can hurt you.

photo by Tessek

Brenda became a career coach, speaker and trainer in 2002 following a 20+ year career in Corporate America. Ms. Cody holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration (Human Resources) and her M.S. degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is affiliated with the Colorado Career Development Association, the Career Management Alliance and in 2007 was voted “Member of the Year” by the Denver Coach Federation. We borrowed this post from her incredibly helpful blog found here. 

Teneo Talent offers a new process of sales recruiting that uses sales assessments for both employers and job seekers to create long term fits.  We also offer career development tools through our sales career coaching program, including resume writing. We offer career advice, career matching and although our organization has a national focus, and have many Denver and Boulder sales jobs available at the moment.


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