4 Toxic Words That Hurt The Unemployed

toxic bad words unemployedBeing without a job is tough. When you are out of work for an extended period of time, crisis of confidence sets in. And once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake.

The problem is that confidence is the No. 1 thing we need to land a job. Without it, we come across as weak, insecure and desperate. If you, or someone you know, are in this situation, the following four words should be eliminated from your vocabulary. 1. Unemployed

Over at Career HMO, I call this the "Ugly U Word" and I refuse to let my members use it. It is a negative, defeatist word that implies something is wrong with you. Just because you aren't currently working doesn't mean you aren't a talented professional. You weren't stripped of all your accomplishments and experience when you lost your job. They are yours to keep and promote. Instead, refer to yourself as "between jobs" -- because that's really what you are.

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2. Nice

Of course you are nice, but companies don't hire for niceness. They hire problem-solvers. Instead of saying you are nice, call yourself valuable. When it comes to getting hired, you need to focus on how you either save or make employers money. Better still, you need to show how you have saved or made your employers enough money in the past to cover the cost of hiring you.

Simply put, companies can't hire you because you are a "nice" because it doesn't pay the bills. And, if you are concerned about coming across as a braggart, consider this: You are a business-of-one who is in the process of marketing themselves to land a new client (aka new employer). You MUST sell yourself. What would you pay good money for: Something nice, or something valuable? See the difference?

3. Try

When some says, "I try to..." it implies they don't always succeed. Share with people what you do well. Give them examples of accomplishments that prove your worth. Back up your track record with facts. Use your professional history to show how you get it done. Not only is it more persuasive, it will remind you of just how capable you really are.

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4. Open

A common mistake that those looking for work make is to tell people they are "Open to anything." While you might think that makes you sound more marketable, it actually has the opposite effect. It implies that you: (a) don't have a focus; (b) don't know what you are good at; and (c) are more worried about getting a job than what the job entails.

This isn't what hiring managers are looking for at all. They want a confident person who knows what they want, why they are the right person for it, and how they will leverage their experience to do the job effectively. Saying you are "open" to all job opportunities is like saying you are "open" to dating anyone with a pulse. You owe it to yourself to have some criteria -- not to mention that it shows you have self-respect.

Removing the words above from your current vocabulary will help you send a stronger message about your worth as an employee. Getting over your crisis of confidence is vital to landing a new position – and it begins with using the right words to describe yourself. If you still struggle with this, be sure to get some help. Nobody should job search alone -- especially, when they aren't getting the results they want. Some of the most talented professionals in the world (i.e., athletes) have many coaches to help them stay in the right mindset and use the proper words to motivate them to achieve their goals. You deserve the same!

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@jokeurmnd -- a sample size of one is very convincing. I'm not sure how someone who makes sweeping generalizations based on limited experience can make it in corporate america, but I see it again and again. I'm sure you're one of the many undeserving people with no empathy for others who has a good job. As one mentor of mine used to say, "people who were born on 3rd based and think they hit a triple."

December 17 2012 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
O Tay Panky

Wow ....my brother just got a security job and told the interviewer that "if he hires him, he won't be disappointed". This is another phrase that gets people in trouble. It usually means that "I have no idea what the job entrails, but I need money, so I'll take it". Most of the time, the people that say this phase usually end up quitting.

August 25 2012 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really, Don't use the word nice or you'll never get out of this sandpit your in with the big scarlet "U" on your chest?

Please, Employers are greedy self serving entities. When the unemployment rates are back down to 3 or 4% and the only people walking in to employment agencies are the dregs of society, they'll be singing a different tune. All of a sudden the 'long term temp' & part time jobs (code for we never will pay you benefits), will all be direct hire and paying top dollar. How quickly people forget life before 2007. It'll be like that again someday and when it does, you must play hardball with the corporate dirt bags and shoot for the best deal and get the most out of you job as you can until their greed creates the NEXT 'economic crisis'. There is no loyalty anymore and any employer who expects it is kidding themselves because we saw how quickly they threw everyone overboard when the economy tanked five years ago. It's a symbiotic relationship. They need you to make their six figure salaries and you need them to maintain your hand-to-mouth life style. I should have gone to college so I could be BANKING more than I make every year while walking around with a clipboard all day or 'thinking' for a living.

June 23 2012 at 4:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The popular claim is blaming the economy. I've driven people to the door with applications and even set up an interviews and they don't want to work. There ARE jobs out there- and you know who's taking them

June 23 2012 at 7:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The advice is nice, but it doesn't matter what I call it, while I'm unemployed. It's dealing with the growing discrimination towards those that are unemployed. Quite a few employers and agencies won't even look at you if you don't currently have a job.

June 23 2012 at 3:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Brian D

The interviewing process is such a joke anymore. HR positions are filled with insecure people who delight in wasting other people's time and asking ridiculous questions that have jack to do with the job. If someone is qualified, hire them, if not, don't. Even if you make a mistake, that person will just be axed the next time the Board of Idiots decided the CEO deserves a psy raise.

June 22 2012 at 8:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

"Unemployed is a defeatist negative term that implies something is wrong with you." Really? I thought it was a term that describes a person who has no job.

June 22 2012 at 8:33 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ruth's comment

"Unemployed is a defeatist negative term that implies something is wrong with you."
Saying you're not unemployed could imply that you're not looking and not available. It doesn't change your status and fools no one!

October 25 2013 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I'm open to any job, an I try to be nice to all those that are unemployed"

June 22 2012 at 6:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I once had an applicant ask if we would be willing to pay him under the table since he didn't wish to give up collecting unemployment. Once I said no, he rejected the interview. Guess people don't want jobs just money.

June 22 2012 at 5:01 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Gas Predictor

Woe UNTO you. (In case you needed a mnemonic.)

June 22 2012 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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