Learning the language of the job search takes time. For most people, talking openly about their career and aspirations feels unnatural. Think about it – how often do these topics really come up day-to-day? That’s why practicing for these types of conversations, through exercises like role playing and mock interviews, can make a big difference before job interviews. 

While plenty of job seekers focus on the right words to say on interview day, many neglect to consider the phrases that can be red flags for employers. Avoid saying something you’ll regret later! Here are four phrases to forget on the job search: 

“I hated my last job/boss.” 

It’s understood that people generally don’t leave jobs that they absolutely love and are the perfect fit for their careers. While many questions in a job interview do touch on the past, the real goal is to get an idea of what the job candidate’s future will look like. Dwelling on the negative aspects of a previous job is not constructive; instead, focus on lessons learned from each experience, and paint a picture of a more positive future. 

“It’s on my resume.”

Over the course of a long job search, the amount of applications sent into employers can pile up fast. After a while, it gets frustrating. “How many times do I need to tell people the same things about my career?” is a natural feeling. Yes, a hiring manager will have access to your resume and any accompanying application materials during an interview, but the questions being asked are designed to have job seekers go beyond the resume. If there’s a skill listed, can you name specific times that you used it in a work situation? What are the experiences behind the accomplishments included on your application materials? The resume is just the starting point for sharing the story of your career! 

“What I’d really like to do is…”

Sure, this job probably won’t be the last one you ever have. However, no employer wants to feel like the opportunity they’re interviewing for is just a stepping stone for getting to bigger and better things. Sharing your career ambitions is one thing, but dismissing the role at hand to talk about passions you deem as more important can leave the wrong impression. Instead, express excitement for the opportunity in the moment. During follow-up questions, job seekers can ask about opportunities for growth in the organization, but it’s important to not lose focus on what’s most important right now. 

“No, I don’t have any questions!” 

In this case, lack of curiosity can kill the cat. If you’re not interested enough to come up with thoughtful questions, how interested can you really be in the organization and opportunity? It’s always a good idea to come prepared with questions to ask during a job interview. These can be related to specific job responsibilities, the history of the organization or the interviewer’s experience as a member of the team. This is the job seeker’s opportunity to turn the tables on the interview and transform the dynamic from one-sided questioning into a back-and-forth conversation. 

We’ve all said things we wish we could take back over the course of a job search. With a little bit of preparation, job seekers can limit the amount of times this happens. Do you have any examples of phrases to forget on the job search? Share your experiences in the comments below!