Who doesn’t love a good idiom?
They stick in your memory like bees in honey; they circulate through your brain like downtown traffic. You want to drop them into a conversation wherever you can.
Here are a few to that may be related to your job search.
1) Go the extra mile:
This expression means that you did work beyond what was expected. Considering we live in Canada, this should say ‘extra kilometre’ but anyway, you get the idea. Going the extra mile is what high achievers do. It’s what hard-workers do. It’s what people who take initiative do. If you are one of these, you can say of yourself that you are the type of person who goes the extra mile.
2) Learn/Know the ropes:
Originating from sailing, this expression means to know how to do something. In a new job, a person needs to learn the ropes. After you’ve been there awhile, you know the ropes.
3) Pound the pavement:
We’re slightly more sophisticated in how we “pound the pavement” these days thanks to our computers and Internet. However, we still do this. Pounding the pavement means walking from business to business to ask for work. This is not very different from going door to door, something sales people do. These days, we are more likely to develop a list of places where we would like to work, try to get an information interview with someone inside and eventually apply to work in the company. Pavement pounding has turned into keyboard pounding in our information society.
4) Brownie points
Imagine you are beginning a job interview with an HR person who suddenly discovers her pen has no ink. You earnestly offer yours, although you have no spare. Congratulations! You have just earned a brownie point. This is a kind of social reward for doing something to help another person. Usually, the helper is a superior and the brownie points earn favor that could impact future negotiations.
5) Climb the ladder
Everyone loves a good promotion. It’s a chance to move up the chain of command. We visualize this company hierarchy as a ladder and getting a promotion is compared to stepping up one rung higher. Be careful when using this, however. It’s not a positive way to explain your goals. Rather, you might say you want to “attain increasing levels of responsibility.”
6) Get back in the saddle:
Failure depresses us much like it used to depress cowboys back in the days when they would be kicked off a horse. And yet, a cowboy’s work is on the horse. On the horse, there is a saddle. If a cowboy is going to work, he or she must get back in the saddle. Getting back in the saddle simply means trying again after a failure. So, maybe your last interview failed? Never mind. Get back in the saddle and apply for more jobs. Keep trying.
Whether we used idioms from sailing or from the farm or from somewhere else, they still reflect the challenges of life: learning, recovering from failure, searching for opportunities or trying hard. Idioms remind us of a more hands-on past and compare our current work to jobs long ago. If you know of other idioms that fit job search, please comment and share it with us.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.