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Career Focus

Two Words not for Emails, Cover Letters and Interviews

By LISA TRUDEL - April 19 2021

Do you want to prepare yourself to sound professional at interviews, networking meetings and on the job? Did you know there are two powerful words you can change that will make you appear more confident and self-assured?

Our daily speech, emails, and cover letters can sometimes be full of disempowering language without realizing it. By using the technique of “word swapping” you can use simple words and phrases that can produce positive change and thus make you seem more professional. The two words to consider changing are:

1) But.

Instead of using the word “but” use the word “and”. This can be when talking or writing an email. The word “but” has the power of changing a neutral statement into a negative one so try swapping this word the next time you find yourself using it.

For example, at a job interview instead of saying “I really want to work with your company but I am afraid of working remotely” state “I really want to work with your company and I know I can learn to become your best remote employee”. The use of the word “but” closes off the conversation yet “and” opens it up.

2) Help.

The word “help” is often associated with “helplessness”. This implies that someone is incapable of achieving something without someone else stepping in to do it for them. If you swap “help” for “assist”, it can empower the reader or the listener.

For example, if you are asked at your next job interview why you want the job, instead of saying, “I want this job to help you organize your administrative projects”, state “I want this job to assist in organizing your administrative projects.” The word “assist” sets you up for the potential employer to know that you are capable and part of the solution.
Vocabulary is important. Take the lead in creating business vocabulary inclusion so everyone can achieve their full potential in the workplace. Keep yourself and others empowered by “word swapping”. It might be your solution for interview success!

To find out more about employment preparation, contact your local Employment Ontario Career Centre and find out if you meet the criteria to use their free services.

Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist with Achev (formerly the Centre for Education and Training), wrote this article. You can contact Lisa at

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