The Meaning Behind The Words

wordsIt is a pretty established fact that I am an over-analyzer; this coupled with the fact that I am a writer can sometimes be the source of great insight or great frustration.


The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and we were discussing a text.  I had asked for clarification and he looked at me like I had three heads.  I explained that it could have been taken one way, or another or even a possible third.  After I explained each possibility he looked at me and simply said, “All that over a three letter word – wow.”


It is a blessing and a curse.


I will admit that sometimes I am a little overzealous in diving into the meanings of words, specific words, as well as the entire content in which they were used.  But this is why I am good at what I do as a professional.


Words are important.  They purpose is more than just filling up space on your resume.  They must be weighed in consideration with the immediate context as well as the entire presentation as a whole.


Oh yes, I am serious.


I can read a resume and tell a person how they felt about a position, their current job searching and their attitude about it all.  Words are powerful.  The combination of the individual, context and presentation paints a picture and we form unconscious images in our head about the writer.


Let’s just take a look at two little words and their difference.


To versus That


If you include the word to in a descriptive statement about what you were hired to do that is exactly what you are conveying: you were hired to do it but it doesn’t mean you did it.


If you replace it with which or that then it communicates an accomplishment of those tasks.


Responsible for oversight of department to increase production.

Responsible for oversight of department which increased production.


Of course you want to add the details of how you increased production, but that is getting a little deeper than I want to go at this time.


The point is one word can change everything.  It can change the context and meaning.


When preparing your business writing take a moment and read it from a detached perspective.  Think about it in terms of “could this be taken in another context?”  This may help you identify just one little word to change which will make a huge impact on your overall presentation.


Words – they matter.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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