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New Year, Minus the Jargon

This is the time of year when I get a number of people reaching out -- December and January are a hot time for career coaches and leadership consultants. That change in the calendar moves people; they are inspired to be something new, grow, develop, become something more, or finally make that change that has been tickling their brain for a while.


If this sounds like it might be you, I have one piece of very valuable free advice for you to help with the whole process of career growth or change:


Start to de-jargon your resume and your mental list of accomplishments.


(In case you are unfamiliar with the term jargon, here I mean it as the terminology that you use in your career or business that is specific to your career -- the pieces of language that make it hard for someone on the outside to understand what you are discussing. And yes, every single career has jargon specific to it.)


Why would de-jargoning be useful?

Okay, while jargon is a real word, I will admit that de-jargoning is not a real word. Nonetheless, hang with me.

You will at some point in this process of personal growth need to make a list of the skills you've liked using and have developed that could be useful in another field or as you move up or on. If these skills and abilities are still in the jargon of the position you find yourself in now or where you have been previously, it will be like trying to sell yourself to someone in a foreign language that they don't speak.

Also, removing all the jargon helps you see the real value in your skills and abilities. I promise that you are more than the very specific process you may have gotten very good at -- take the industry specifics out, and you may show an attention to detail and ability to manage complex processes that is useful across all kinds of fields.


How do you de-jargon?

"Great, Jen, but how do I do that?" you might be asking now, shaking your fist at me through the screen of your computer. If this sounds like an impossible task, first start by filling out your resume to its most current self (a good practice to do this time of year every year, just to make sure you keep it up to date any which way), and then really look at it. Look for the terms that are specific to your field. Look for acronyms that have crept in -- most people outside your field aren't going to know your field's specific acronyms. Pull out those acronyms. Pull out the terms that other people won't understand and replace them with a broader descriptive. If you have trouble doing this, grab a friend outside of the field! Describe what you do to them, and have them raise their hand every time you use a word they think might be jargon or have them use a highlighter on your resume or your list of skills to highlight the words they think they wouldn't necessarily get the context of if they weren't your friend.


Once you've started to de-jargon, you will be able to see your skills and abilities in a new light, and, more excitingly, you will be able to really explain much more clearly and succinctly to hiring managers, HR folks, people you meet at networking events, etc., the skills that you can bring to new opportunities and why you should be considered to move up. Let's go into 2020 with a clearer vision of who we are and what we've accomplished with less jargon! (is saying "2020" and "clear vision" cheesy? Eh, let's go with it anyway.)


Happy New Year!



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