Sunday, May 10, 2009

Using Appropriate Words During An Interview

Ever since my last posting got published, I received comments from a number of people related to my statement on tripping “all over the place with their words …” asking me for advice on how they can avoid this during their interviews.

When answering to questions during an interview, the words use to present yourself say more about you than you think. In fact, your vocabulary and the use of appropriate words say more about you than the message you are trying convey. You will be judged by the words you use during an interview. When you are looking for a job it is not only important to use the “right” words and language - it is essential and extremely critical.

It begins with the way your resume is written and continues throughout in the way that you respond to the questions interviewers asked during the course of an interview. There are industry-specific “key words” or “lingo” for each position within that industry, and in order to be prepared it will be important for you to do research on these words and to use them as deem fit. If you do just that, you will sound more professional and knowledgeable.

After reading that last paragraph, you will be asking “How will I know which words are “key”?”

Well, the simplest way to find such “key words” is to look at job descriptions or job advertisements. For each position there are common words that describe job requirements or pre-requisites. Job advertisements contain a good list of qualities and skills employers will be looking for in a candidate – I call it their “wish list.”

For any given position you are applying for, you need to ensure that you include these key words in your cover letter and resume. Hiring managers, HR and recruiters alike will seek out these words to select the resumes as qualified for the position. If these words are missing from your resume, I can guarantee you that yours will not be amongst those in the “selected” tray. Similarly, these are also the critical words you must use during the interview so that it will give the interviewer an impression that you appear to be someone who is a good fit for the position.

When you begin to develop your resume or prepare your interview script you will find these words invaluable. Of course, bear in mind that you would never use a word just to impress your interviewer. Knowing the definition behind the word is what will convince the interviewer that you know what you are talking about. Don’t use a word for the sake of using that word; you have to know what it actually means and how your experience is tied in with that word.

The correct words used can make a huge difference in a single statement – more concise and to the point - more powerful and impressive. Finding the “key” words will make your statements more powerful. Speaking the industry lingo will help you be taken more seriously as a candidate worthy of a job offer.

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