Every summer the workforce is flooded with new graduates looking to enter the professional world and get their careers started. Shortly after, I often find myself receiving calls from young professionals who find that they’re having a much tougher time landing their dream job than they had anticipated. Often the problem isn’t a lack of experience or knowledge, but a lack of communication skills that lead to a poor impression in an interview setting. While everyone has their own particular communication strengths and weaknesses, there are some that are common across young adults. Here are four tips that can help you ace the interview and get your career started right:
- Eliminate filler words: Fillers are words and phrases that are inserted into speech, but have no content. Some of the most common examples are “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know,” and “right?” Using too many fillers will make you sound unprofessional and unsure of your speech.
- Articulate and enunciate: Crisp, clear speech is one of the most crucial aspects of professional communication. Mumbling or running your words together will make you seem lazy and inarticulate. Take care to pronounce all of the sounds of each word, particularly the consonants at the ends of words.
- Avoid upspeak: Have you ever spoken with someone who sounds like they’re asking a question, even with they’re making a statement? This is called Upspeak, the habit of continually raising your tone at the end of a sentence. Upspeak can make you seem inexperienced and unsure of yourself. Take care to monitor your tone when you speak to sound professional and authoritative.
- Don’t use slang: This can be a particular problem for young professionals or recent graduates new to the working world. Many phrases and words which seem natural may be completely inappropriate for the workplace. Take some time to take stock of your vocabulary and see which slang words and phrases you use most often. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a friend or colleague, as you may not even notice some of the slang you use!
If you have questions or are interested in improving your communication skills, give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at email@example.com. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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