Saying the right things matters, especially when it comes to your career. No matter if you’re a business founder or an entry-level employee, there are probably words and phrases you’ve been using that are hindering you at work.
As the founder and CEO of Open Me, an online greeting card company, I understand the importance of being more thoughtful in both your professional and personal lives. Honing in on what you’re saying in professional conversations, jotting down on your resume, and sharing in interviews may turn your career in a new direction.
Remove these phrases from your everyday professional conversations:
1. “That’s not my job.” This type of self-serving phrase won’t just anger your coworkers or manager, it could also cost your your job. While a task may not fit directly within your original job description, it’s for the greater good of the company that you lend a hand wherever and whenever possible.
2. “I’ll try.” If you want to inspire doubt in whomever you’re speaking to, try this phrase out. Not only will you eliminate the trust of coworkers, you’ll also place doubt in the minds of your customers and clients. Replace “try” with “will” for better results.
3. “I dislike...” If you’re constantly sharing your distaste for things, your coworkers are quickly going to tune you out. Avoid constant negativity and filter in more positivity. For instance, instead of saying you dislike meetings because they run too long, figure out a way to energize them or keep them short.
4. “I’m too busy.” It’s time to face the music: Everyone’s really busy. Replace this phrase with something like, “Once I tackle this task, I’ll be happy to take a look at that.”
Avoid these phrases during an interview:
1. “I think...” This statement only shows self-doubt — something you can’t risk in an interview. Drop this phrase and replace it with something more confident like “In my experience..”
2. “To be honest...” Stating this before you answer a question may lead the interviewer to believe you weren’t being honest during the rest of your interview. Avoid this phrase altogether and never lie during an interview.
3. “Me, me, me.” If your entire thought process during your interview is in regard to yourself, it’s going to come through in how you answer questions. The company wants to know what you’re going to bring to the position. Don’t ask if you can work from home or what the compensation package looks like unless they bring it up.
4. “My previous employer was awful...” Badmouthing is never a good idea — it shows you’re untrustworthy or disloyal. If you don’t have something nice to say about your current or previous employer, then it’s best not to say it at all. Any kind of negativity toward a company or manager might label you as a bad hire.
Remove these words from your resume:
1. “Highly qualified.” Show, don’t tell. Simply writing this, rather than listing the experiences that make you highly qualified, may peg you as lazy or dishonest.
2. “Familiar with...” Once again, it’s essential to show an employer exactly how you’ve used technical programs or specific skills. Simply listing your familiarity isn’t going to do you any favors.
3. “Team player.” How were you a team player? Avoid lip service and share concrete experiences and accomplishments you achieved through teamwork instead.
4. “Problem solver.” Break down your resume to represent your abilities as a problem solver. For instance, share a problem-solving achievement that benefited your previous employer or client.
Don’t let what you say hold your career back! Evaluate your vernacular to ensure you exude positivity and confidence.