Talent Development Centre

Too Much “Corporate Jargon” Can Harm Your Job Search

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

Have you “drank the kool-aid”?

Have you gone after “low hanging fruit”?

Do you want to “uberize” an idea?

What do all of these statements have in common?  They are all overused in today’s corporate culture.

Someone sent me this video and I found myself laughing at all the corporate jargon one uses in their day-to-day life.  The video made me stop and think… am I guilty too of using too much jargon?  I think all of us fall into a rut in how to express ourselves.  It is often just easier to grab onto a current saying rather than coming up with a proper or original way to express what we are trying to say.   We easily fall into using overused statements to express our thoughts.  I am not saying it is 100% incorrect to use these statements, but the time and place must be considered.

In my line of work, I spend a good amount of my day speaking with contractors and clients.  I find candidates in particular guilty of overusing phrases such as “I am unique because I act as a bridge between the business and IT” or “I’m a thought leader who thinks outside the box” to convey what they did at their past/current place of work.  Some candidates go as far as to pepper their whole job interview with overused corporate jargon trying to express what they did.  They leave the interview without telling the interviewer what they really did and worse — leaving them with a bad impression of who they really are… a buzzword “abuser”.

What people often don’t realize is that by constantly using overused and overhyped terms (i.e. Uber), the impact of the statement and its true meaning is lost, and so is your credibility. For example, as an independent contractor working with a variety of staffing agencies, you too probably get bored of hearing recruiters dish out lines like “I’m working for a client who offers a great culture and work/life balance” or “This position offers great opportunity for advancement”.

When going into a job interview, meeting with clients or fellow independent contractors, stop and take the time to understand who your audience is and the best way to convey your message.  Use corporate jargon selectively… or not at all.

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