Write it Right – 7 Tips to Jazz Up Your Work

In job search and on the job you are what you write. Flawless in logical thought, persuasive and well-crafted, your writing reflects you at your best. Every cover letter, email and project summary you do carries your signature style.

So let’s take a look at some quick hit ways to improve what you already do.

1. Strings of things lose their power. Avoid long laundry lists of items – especially dissimilar items. Group like items in 2’s and 3’s in separate sentences.
2. Duplication is boring. Review how many words are the same, i.e. strong, proven…or variations on the same word, e.g. strengths, and tap into your creativity for fresh expressions.
3. Watch the number of sentences that begin with the word “I” – one of the biggest bloopers in cover letters. The most I’ve seen in one letter? 13.
4. Make your sentences short – a line to 2 lines at the very most. It keeps you on track and your reader engaged.
5. Make your paragraphs shorter than usual. Four to five lines will do it. Even throw in a single 2- line paragraph for emphasis a couple of times.
6. Optics count – so balance the page. It should look elegant and appealing to the eye. A page that is overcrowded is not more powerful but less effective.
7. Showcase relevant numbers, facts or details that prove your key points effectively. This alone moves your material from general to specific and gears up the professionalism of your work.

Above all – Proof, Proof, Proof and Reproof – so many things can slip through the cracks when you are writing. You may be excited about the ideas or in a hurry to meet a deadline – either way errors find ways to creep in. Grammar, punctuation and sentence structure count. Even missing words can turn up when you do a close review. Keep your editorial eye sharp by reviewing with an objective perspective a few hours ,or even the day after, you write. Opportunities for improvement may leap off the page.

(The most overused phrase? Well, let’s say if I had a loonie for every time I’ve read ‘strong interpersonal and communication skills’ in both job postings and cover letters, I have enough change for parking meters for a long time.)

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