The One Word That Can Shatter Your Career

 In Career Tips

There’s one word that can do more harm than any other when it comes to your career.

Using it cuts the legs out from underneath your credibility.

It is one that too many people use… and the trouble is that they don’t even know that they are using it.

What is this powerful word?

It’s the word “think.”

As in, “I think I am capable of doing this…”

Or, “This is a task I can do, I think.”

Too many times when I am interviewing clients about their accomplishments or abilities, they will use “I think.”

Really?

You think… but you don’t know for a fact?

That’s not good. Not good at all.

The difference: Assertive and confident people KNOW.

When discussing their abilities, they don’t hedge. They don’t second-guess. They don’t think.

They simply… ARE.

Arriving at this place where you are confident enough to state, “I drive results” versus “I think I can do it” is a seminal moment in a career.

By using the word, “think,” you are expressing self-doubt or de-emphasizing your abilities.

I always say we have to blame our parents for shaming us into never owning our accomplishments.

“Don’t boast about yourself, dear… it’s unbecoming,” is a common refrain many people were taught.

But not being able to assertively talk about your abilities in a way that commands confidence is just as bad as bragging like a braying mule.

When it boils down to it, employers simply don’t know you.

And it’s your job to tell them what they need to know.

By hedging and demurring, you aren’t helping.

You are simply hurting yourself by not owning your abilities in a way that reassures the employer about what you can do.

So the next time you are put on the spot, try to avoid saying, “I think,” unless you are actually being asked an opinion.

Instead, connect the word “I” with an action verb, then a specific result.

You might just be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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