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Dumb Things Jobseekers Say


Robby

I talk to Indianapolis jobseekers all the time, and I hear them say all kinds of things. I don’t want to be mean, but here’s my chance to point out the dumb stuff they keep repeating.

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What’s hard about writing this is that it’s really about the difference between being intentional and being factual. If someone asks you how you are feeling about the job search, the fact is that you might be discouraged. You might be upset. You might feel defeated. But if you tell people you barely know that you’re having all of these thoughts—or if you mention them in a job interview—it might not work out for the best.

In short: it’s dumb for jobseekers to say things that hurt their job prospects. Here’s a list of the kinds of statements I hear all too often:

  • “I’m unemployed.” The problem with these two words is that they aren’t far from “I’m unemployable” or “I’m unworthy.” Try “I’m in transition” or “I’m currently looking for a new opportunity.”
  • “I have 30 years experience.” That’s code for “I’m old and will retire soon” or “I’m expensive.” Instead, say “I’ve worked in…” or “I like doing…”
  • “I’m detail-oriented and a hard worker.” You’d better be! Don’t say things everyone should be able to say. Consider “I’ve got an unusual problem-solving approach, want to hear more?” or “I invented a new procedure at my last position, can I tell you about it?”
  • “I need to update my resume.” Yes. You also might need to buy eggs and call your mother. Don’t share your to-do list; make promises. Try: “May I send you my updated resume?”
  • “I really just want any job.” I can think of lots of jobs for lots of rate of pay you don’t want. This sounds desperate, and nobody wants to employ someone who wants nothing in particular.
  • “I don’t want to take a pay cut.” It’s not about you. It’s about them. If you provide loads of value, you can demand more salary. Your previous salary has nothing to do with anything.
  • “This job is a perfect fit for me.” It’s impossible for you to know this. Perhaps the job description aligns well with your experience, but a job description is not a job. What matters is what’s beyond the posting. Find out more, and don’t overstep.

Stop saying these things. You’ll get more opportunity and find better work, faster.

And, good luck!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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