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Speaking The Lingo: Language In Recruitment

Just this week a candidate asked me what EMEA (Europe, The Middle East and Africa) stood for in a job advert they had seen. It got me thinking about language and its use in job searching.

Good communication skills are pretty much a pre-requisite for any post. Surely one element of ‘good’ communication is its ability to be understood?

Within every sector, industry, profession, company, generation, hell- any group of people, terminology emerges. As a twitter newbie I’m right back at square one and feeling the discomfort from the outside looking in. I pick my way carefully through the messages and as with any new language, I look for common recognisable words, look up others and ask obvious questions to those in the know.

Yet just like the ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ catch phrase in the UK “It’s only easy if you know the answers” or Langenberg’s 28th Law: “You don’t know what you don’t know”

In the job search it’s a barrier you need to cross. Keywords are essential in all forms of internet based searching and you need to be recognised. CV sifters are also on the hunt for key phrases, buzz words and terminology. This is particularly true if they are not from your chosen field as they try to decipher your information and match to criteria set out for them. Sometimes keywords like certain qualifications on your details are lifelines; they might not understand what the qualification is, so long as its listed, it doesn’t matter to them.

We fall into two groups: Those in the know and those not. In the terms we use we demonstrate our knowledge, our expertise, share in the language and bonds are formed. Yet beware. In the same way we show our knowledge we also reveal our attitudes towards it. Are you someone who horde’s information and patronises or are you an enlightener who shares with others? Which would you rather work with?

Also try to avoid alienating the interviewer with acronyms and terminology, especially if it’s unique to your current / last company. It shows your connection to the old and sets you apart from the new – the interviewer who you are trying to align with not exclude.

Instead of “I was included in the REACH programme as a B4 and attained a level 5″ translate “I was recognised for my performance amongst my peer group and given management training in leadership, this resulted in an internal promotion with more responsibility.”

Lastly you don’t want to get your wires crossed. It’s no good claiming to be excellent at ‘B & M’ when you mean ‘Business and Management’ and they think  ‘Bitchin and Moanin’?

For a really good online acronym dictionary visit this site by Farlex.

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