5 tips for making your message stick

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Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elesy
Team GradAustralia
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1. Keep it short 

Short words, short sentences and short paragraphs help readability. Cut your word count in half, and then make another cut. 

2. Cut the padding 

Use the most straightforward words you can find. Banish long clauses, repetition and any other waffle. Buzzwords and clichés are so over used that you can only gain by cutting them out. However, do include language specific to the company and industry you are targeting. 

3. Verbs are your friends 

When you are writing about your work experience, verbs – words that say what you have done – are critical. Put verbs near the beginning of the sentence. And make sure your verbs have punch: the easiest way to draw attention is to use “active” verbs. “Our team produced a new product” is snappier than “a new product was produced by our team”; “I was involved in the implementation of new projects,” sounds a lot better as: “I implemented projects.” 

4. Avoid abstracts

An easy way to shorten your sentences is to be brutal with nominalisations. For example, replace: “I was involved with the implementation of projects” with: “I implemented projects” for an instant word reduction. It sounds better too.

5. Say what you mean

Think about what you actually want to say, then say it. Be as specific as possible.