The 7 Most Powerful Words in Job Search

ant liftingThere’s a short, 7-word phrase that should be a key part of your career development and personal branding arsenal – the thing that differentiates you from everyone else.

And those seven words are…

“What can I do to help you?”

Yep, that’s it. Not rocket science, is it? It’s about developing a pattern of personal conduct that allows you to grow by helping others along the way.

Let’s break down why this short phrase is so powerful…


If you ask a vague question, you will get a vague answer. This question invites the respondent to make a specific request you can fulfill.

Time Bound

A sense of urgency is implied. You are asking what you can do to help someone, now. If the answer comes back as “Let me think about that…” be prepared to reinforce the immediacy.


This is a question that demonstrates your genuine willingness to help. It can’t be misinterpreted; no one will question your motivations.


Where you saw an opportunity to do so, these words demonstrate that you are capable of proactively extending an offer to help.


We all say we’re a “team player”. Asking this question positions you as a team player, invested in the success of others (so we don’t have to use the “team player” cliche to describe ourselves).


This offer says you are willing to help in whatever manner is needed, even if it means taking on a task you wouldn’t normally do. Humility, by the way, is a highly underrated workplace attribute.


It shows capability to look outside your scope, and intervene if you see an opportunity to help. You made a call based on the situation around you and the mission at hand. This is what leaders do.


Trying to figure out how to work better with a difficult personality in the office? This question extends a metaphorical olive branch.

Here’s the best part.

Picture a frantic situation. There’s a deadline, an angry client, a project that’s due, a last minute fire drill, an emergency of some kind. High stress.

You use these seven words in an authentic offer to help someone who appears besieged. You are amazingly empowered by making the offer. You gain confidence in yourself, simply by asking the question. Imagine what will happen when you follow through.

You’ll find many ways in life to genuinely offer your support with these 7 words. (By the way, they work in your business life, AND in your personal life.)

Say them out loud. Practice giving your voice to them. Imbue them with your own authenticity. Practice making the sincere offer. Challenge yourself to find as many situations in all aspects of your life. See what happens.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!


Degrees of Transition


Lea McLeodAbout the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog:



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