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The One Word You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Image: one word to never say in job interview

I am certain all of you have heard the phrase "never say never" and may have even used it a time or two ... or three. Yet here I am about to say it to you, because the fact is that in many—if not most—cases, you should eliminate "think" from your vocabulary. Professionally speaking, this word should never be used while you are interviewing for a job.

When you look up the "think" in the dictionary, it states that this word is used to describe something you believe to be true, have an opinion on, or maybe a particular thought about something. Now, let's compare that with a word that we often are hesitant to say instead: "know." That means that you are aware of something as being factual or the truth. Do you see the difference? It seems subtle, but which one creates a more convincing statement for an employer? When you look at it this way, the answer is quite obvious: You are in a position of trying to sell yourself as a candidate and of course you want them to know that you are qualified and the right fit for their company.

Picture yourself at an interview. You are sitting there, in the smoldering hot seat, and all you can think about is coming across as confident and self-assured. Well, aside from looking professional and not being fidgety, it is what you say that will determine how you portray your confidence. Start by removing "think" from your vocabulary. Try it on your own first if you feel that would be helpful. Practice saying "I think I will be a good fit for your organization because of my relevant experience in customer service" vs. "I know I will be a good fit for your organization because of my relevant experience in customer service." Which sounds better? And I don't mean better just to you; what would sound better to an employer who wants you to convince them that you are just the candidate they are looking for with the right experience and skill set?

When it comes to resumes or cover letters, do you ever see "I think I have experience in X, Y and Z"? The answer is no, of course, and not only because you normally wouldn't use "I" in a resume. The answer is that you typically don't have any uncertainty when writing about your experience, education, or skills. So why sound uncertain when you're talking about these crucial selling points?

At the end of the day, it's all about making sure that you are conveying the right message to employers. If "thinking" something is a belief and "knowing" something is factual, you can show employers that you either believe you are, or that you are qualified. Which would you rather communicate?

Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at careerservices@aiuonline.edu.

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