Want to get ahead in your career? Then the language you use is critical to your success. | Johnathan Maltby
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Want to get ahead in your career? Then the language you use is critical to your success.

Language is critical to your success

Want to get ahead in your career? Then the language you use is critical to your success.

 


The words and language we use says a lot about us, especially in the workplace. In fact people pick up a lot more on the language you use far more than you realise. This is why it is essential that when you are wanting to climb the career ladder or even change career completely, then it is vital that you use the correct language and by this I mean, the language of the specific role or industry that you want to be in.

For the last few years, I have been working extensively with people who want to change career and one of the things they usually get tripped up on is language. Many people tend to use the language of their previous role/industry and wonder why they keep getting knocked back even if they have all the right skills and experience. You see, it is all about alignment and the recruiter or hiring manager is looking to tick off the check boxes with regards to matching your skills and experience to their role and so by using the language of that role they are looking to fill, you will be ticking off more and more of those boxes. For example, let’s say you were in banking and finance and you wanted to switch career to software development. Once you have unskilled, you need to start using the language that a software developer uses (excuse the pun)  and not one of a finance and banking professional. In other words, if you want to be a software developer then you need to sound like a developer. The same also goes if you want a promotion and so you need to sound like someone who is already in that role and thus use the language of that role not the role you are currently in.

Alignment should happen right at the resume stage and so with this in mind, it goes without saying that language and effective communication is the key to a great resume. When writing a resume, you need to employ the language that the role/industry you are applying for uses, especially when writing your personal summary section. When recruiters or hiring managers read through your CV, they are trying to match up your skills and experience with the job criteria and the easiest way to do this is by matching the language. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile too, so think appropriate and relevant industry keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) when you are updating your profile.

If you get a bit stuck choosing the right language, then here is an example of how to get around that.

First of all, list all the keywords and jargon that a person in that role or industry would typically use. If you get stuck, jump on the job boards or company websites and look for jobs you would apply for. Now have a look at the language they are using in these job adverts as well as the skills they are listing too. Use this language and keywords in your resume and LinkedIn profile. Try to describe your previous roles by using similar language or keywords so people can easily pick out the relevance and transferable skills and experience. If your language is aligned, it will be much easier for the hiring manager to see you as a fit for their role.

When it comes to the interview, don’t forget to use that same language and jargon too. In other words, be what the hiring manager needs you to be, not what your previous or current role or industry was or currently is.

So, if you are looking to get to the next step in your career, then you need to be consciously thinking and using the language that someone in that role would use as if you were already there.  Of course, and let me stress this, you need to have the relevant skills and experience, even just at a junior level to back up the language you are using and remember to be authentic in all of your job seeking endeavors as your name and personal brand is one of your biggest assets.