One of the truest quotes is from French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal. Written in 1600’s: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
This is often attributed to Mark Twain. He did write something similar in 1871: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”
History lesson aside, this is a very important concept in communication. Especially your personal brand communication, i.e. your LinkedIn and resume.
I am a wordy person in my first drafts. I warn every single client when getting their rough cut that it is long and wordy. I like words. I like embellishing. I like feeling out different words and phrases to get the feel and sense of them.
People are natural storytellers, even if they don’t realize it. They have accomplishments they are rightly proud of. They like to explain, relive, recreate, and discuss. It’s a feel good and can be a wealth of information.
Yet, all my words and people’s stories don’t always meet the needs of the audience: the reader of your profile or resume.
The truth is, what you write isn’t about you, it is about them. You are speaking to their need and how you are a solution. All those words and stories don’t mean anything if they don’t prove that you are their solution or savior.
That’s why the real fun and love comes in the slashing and dashing. Oh, the joy of taking a draft and cutting, slicing, dicing ruthlessly! It’s a game: how can I say all that the reader needs to hear in as few words as possible?
You see, we also need to keep in mind attention spans. No one likes reading long, boring blocks of text. It has to mean something to them or they will gloss over it.
This takes me back to my title: stop overthinking you. One of the most powerful and simplest questions I can ask you is: “what do you want your reader to know?”
We want simple. Simple is powerful, even simple words can be powerful. A good example is an amazing executive client of mine. He snatches companies from the jaws of death and jettisons them into industry trendsetters. He would never let me put that in his resume or LinkedIn, it sounds awesome, but too bragging for him (although I will run it by him….).
Not my point. He has a hiccup with the word ‘expertise’. The Skills section. Now he’s strong in each one listed, but uncomfortable with that word as a title. He gave a lot of thought to this and was coming up with several phrases as alternatives.
My advice was this: let’s keep it simple. We can use ‘Proficiencies, Qualifications, Key Strengths”. ATS recognized any of these as headers. Each is innocuous to the reader which allows them to focus on the words following the title.
Mr. Sullivan gave me a great piece of advice that rings true still today. He was my boss from 20+ years ago and an 86-year-old attorney. His advice: “KISS: keep it simple stupid”.
Tell them what you want them to know about what they need to hear.
As an award winning, published, Resume Writer, Career & Business Coach, I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.
All opinions and views are my own (unless attributed). They are also normally spot and have a touch of humor because I’m obsessive about career topics and my dog thinks I’m hilarious, not just his meal ticket.