Can accents affect your career?

Many years ago, your accent spoke volumes about your social status and was a giveaway of where you came from, your social class, and your level of education.

Accents can have an immediate impact on someone’s perception of you. Having a posh accent is taken as a sure sign of education, social class and even wealth. While, other accents are often treated with disdain and even ridicule.

But is this right and can this harm your career when job seeking?

The answer should be a resounding, No! However the figures in a poll carried out back in 2013 by ComRes certainly proved to be insightful. The poll asked a total of 4,000 Britons to rate accents in terms of friendliness, intelligence and trustworthiness. Amongst the results, it was said that people from Devon were considered the most friendly and trustworthy, whilst the Liverpudlian accents were deemed the least trustworthy.

According to one poll more than a quarter of Britons feel they have been discriminated against because of the way they speak and worryingly, research by law firm Peninsular said eight out of ten employers admit to making discriminating decisions based on regional accents.

So, should you change your accent to get the job?

Whether you have a strong accent or not, we can all do more to speak properly, and that doesn’t mean adopting the Queens English. Simply, speaking correctly will make you sound more eloquent whatever your accent. We spend our lives correcting how our children speak but do we ever really listen to how we speak ourselves.

Here are 5 tips on speaking correctly:

Pronounce the letters at the beginning and the end of words

A common mistake that many of us make, is not pronouncing the beginning and endings of words – Yes there has always been a ‘g’ on the end of meeting, going etc. What about the word having with a ‘h’ at the beginning. Endeavour to use them. Doing this will also slow down your speech and allow you t come across as professional and prepared.

Speak slowly and clearly

By speaking slowly, you will not only sound more eloquent, but the content of what you say will be more thought out and could help you think of an intelligent answer in an interview situation.

Avoid slang

Avoid, avoid, avoid at all costs.

Oh S**t!

Seriously avoid cursing, there are plenty other words in the English language that can be used instead and this just shows a lack of intelligence.

Love books

Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary while also understanding the correct context of words and the meaning of new words. Wow your potential employer by using a complex word in the correct context and they could be highly impressed by your language skills, which may increase your chances over the last person who cursed!

Extra words

Errr, like, erm, stop adding sounds and words to your sentences as this is the fastest way to sound unintelligent whatever your accent! An example of the wrong use of this word is; “The other day I got on this, like, jacket and went to, the, like, pub to know it. The correct use of the word ‘like’ is; I like my job and I also like chocolate.

Regional accents are becoming more acceptable and this is shown by the variety of presenters now used on across our television screens. Accents are becoming less of a barrier as the UK becomes more culturally diverse.

Remember to speak clearly and be authentic about who you are, don’t ever try to put on an accent as you will come across as being fake. Be clear, speak slowly and be friendly.