10 Words You Must Avoid During a Job Search

ShhhImagine you’ve found the job of your dreams. You tailored your cover letter and resume perfectly. Your application was impeccable.

The phone rings. An interview! You do all the right research. You prepare all the right answers, and questions. Your dress is perfectly aligned with the culture. You nailed it!

After the interview, however: weeks go by; you haven’t heard a peep from the employer. Are you not qualified for the position? Did you do something wrong? Or was it something you said?

In today’s highly competitive job market, chances are (all things else being equal) it is the latter: something you said. Which is why job seekers must avoid using words that could cost them a job; words that give recruiters and hiring managers the wrong impression the moment they’re heard. Words like these:

1. “No.”

Using “no” in any shape or form can negatively impact your job search. To show your enthusiasm and confidence to employers, deliberately use positive words in your branding and during job interviews.

2. “Um…”

Whether you’re in an interview or on the phone with a hiring manager, avoid using “um” at all costs. Although most people don’t realize they use these filler words, it is essential to curb their use. This shows a lack of confidence and creative thinking, and also shows that you are unwilling to let silence occur while you formulate a good answer.

3. “And What Not” or “You Know”

These are more filler words job seekers should avoid during their job search. These are empty words and in no way do they help you communicate your skills or experience to a hiring manager. To avoid using these words, simply be concise in your answers and say exactly what you mean.

4. “Kinda”

When a hiring manager asks if you have some type of experience, you don’t want to say “I kinda know how to use Microsoft Office.” At the very least this demonstrates a lack of professionalism; at worst a distinct lack of maturity.

5. “Hate”

Even if you had a bad boss or working experience, you should never, ever say this most negative of words. The is a huge red flag to a potential employer, shows a clear lack of emotional intelligence, and will undoubtedly end your candidacy.

6. “Sorry”

Unless you accidentally bump into someone or spill coffee, never say I’m sorry during a job interview. Most interviewers don’t want to hear your apologies, even for being late. They certainly don’t want to hear excuses. Own whatever issue comes up with confidence, and be prepared to move on.

7. “I Don’t Know” (If Not Followed by “But…”)

Job seekers have been trained to avoid using “I don’t know…” because it shows a lack of confidence. But if you add “but…” to that phrase you just might turn a negative into a positive. For instance, when an interviewer asks you a question that you feel clueless about say, “I don’t know, but I know I can learn the answer quickly by…”

8. “What?”

Saying “what?” during a job interview not only brings up the maturity issue again, it shows hiring managers and recruiters you weren’t listening, at least for that moment. Do it repeatedly, and you’re only proving how little you care.

You also don’t want to ask an interviewer questions such as “What does your company do?” or “What is the best part of this job?” Instead, you should say, “Can you tell me more about what the last person who had this position liked most about the role?” This shows you are actively engaged in the interview and interested in learning more about the job, fit and the company.

9. “Dude”

Really? This isn’t high school. Enough said.

10. Curse Words

This seem like common sense, and yet it happens all the time. Not only are swear words, even the “little” ones, inappropriate… they just may cost you a job. You wouldn’t swear in church. Don’t swear during the job interview, either.

What are some other words job seekers should avoid using during their job search? Please add to this list in the comments below!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!




HeatherAbout the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.


Image courtesy of quickmeme.com. Thank you!



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