Make a Better Application. Think less fluff, more focus

There is lots of advice available as to how your CV should look, the evidence you need to include etc. This all makes sense and is important. What you do not find is guidance on what I think is an increasing issue – using too many words. This makes the CV longer – and harder for the reader.

A simple test – take something you have written recently (e.g. a personal statement or cover letter) and challenge yourself to shorten it. Are all of the words needed? Is everything relevant to your application? I often find you can remove about 10%. I am the worst culprit but have learnt to review and strip out the unnecessary words. The end result will be much better and focused than the first version.

A simple example. Reread the paragraph above – what relevance does the word “recently” have?  “Challenge yourself to shorten it” – why not “shorten it”. Look at the end of the paragraph “…will be much better than the first version” – why not say “….is improved”.

The classic I regularly see from students is “furthermore”. What is wrong with “also”?  Why have I used “regularly” in the first sentence?

What seems to be happening is that people are blurring verbal and written communication – and writing as they would verbally communicate. Social media encourages this as it is a real time interaction. However job applications, presenting reports etc .are not real time – changing the approach and content will step change the impact.

Does this matter? You want the reader to understand what you are saying and focus on what is important. A recruiter may have 20 CVs to review – the shorter sharper CV will be preferred. The ability to communicate clearly is critical in many roles – from PWC presenting back to clients, to the medical profession. An application is the perfect place to show that you already have this capability. Why have I used “already” in the last sentence………..


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