Writing 101

Writing 101

28 Skill Points

128 Active Job Seekers

20+ Hiring Partners

How to improve everything you write?

The Checklist
 
- [ ]  The “Do I need it?” rule → words/Big sections of text we can do without
- [ ]  Fancy talk turned simple
- [ ]  Common words we can delete / replace
- [ ]  “Filler” words we need to replace
- [ ]  Useless adverbs
[ ] Do I need it?

Questions to ask as you remove words :

  • Is each sentence — or part of the sentence — absolutely necessary to make your point?
  • Do any sentences repeat a point already made?
  • Which sections are least essential?
  • If you HAD to remove a paragraph, which one would it be?
  • Does it “feel” like a section drags or slows down the pace?”

Example :

The Super Long Version!

My career path so far has been unconventional but valuable every step of the way. 
Yes, I could have gone the usual route like my peers: graduate college, dive into a regular 9-to-5 job, wear a suit and 
tie and battle every day in traffic, but that life doesn’t appeal to me. It might be a great option for others, 
but I had different plans. 
After graduation, I decided to go down a road few people would consider, and it’s made all the difference in my life. 
I joined a service organization and spent two years in a village.

When I arrived in the village, I wanted to turn around and run home. I felt so alone and out of my comfort zone. 
Sure, in college I had travelled a good amount. I studied abroad in a big city, which is where I learned to speak English fluently. 
But now I was in a village and my English skills wouldn’t be much use. 

With the help of a local fisherman named Hamid, I integrated into the culture of the village and…”

Key sections to delete :

  1. Yes, I could have gone the usual route like my peers: graduate college, dive into a regular 9-to-5 job, wear a suit and tie and battle every day in traffic, but that life doesn’t appeal to me. It might be a great option for others, but I had different plans.
  2. Sure, in college I had travelled a good amount. I studied abroad in a big city, which is where I learned to speak English fluently. But now I was in a village and my English skills wouldn’t “be much use. → Wonderful for you but not essential information. Hence, delete.

[ ] Fancy talk turned simple

❌ I wish to inquire about the possibility of your company expanding in the near future

✅ I’m curious to know if your company is hiring.

❌ My experience thus far has proven I have a distinguished track record and a penchant for success

✅ I have a proven track record in our field and here’s why: 1....2...3...

❌ The work I undertook in my previous position was arduous yet gratifying

✅ My most recent job was a challenge, but I came away with terrific experience. For example…

❌ I want to send along a short email and see if you have received my job application. When you have a moment, please let me know the status of my

application.

✅ Please let me know if you received my job application

❌ Cover Letter: Served as executive assistant to the program’s executive director, handled a variety of critical inter-office assignments and liaised with senior staffers on major national accounts.

✅ Cover Letter: As an executive assistant, I drafted office-wide memorandums, conducted research for senior staffers and made sure the executive director never missed a meeting despite a non-stop schedule.”

Don’t be fancy and vague. “Tell us exactly what you did”

[ ] Common words we can delete / replace
  • very, just and really → remove all three
  • that → delete ( Ex. : I believe that you are correct )
  • quite → delete, excess word
  • thing → replace with a specific word for the “thing”
  • utilize → switch to “use” or pick another verb
  • get or got → pick another, more descriptive verb
  • ing verbs → “The boy is running” becomes “The boy runs”
At my most recent job, I was responsible for managing projects, “working with clients and overseeing our budget.

Let’s chop down the three “-ing” verbs.

At my most recent job, I managed projects, worked with clients and oversaw our budget.
The original sentence has 18 words and 31 syllables.The revised sentence has 15 words and 22 syllables.

Brevity makes you sharper. Plain and simple.

[ ] “Filler” words we need to replace
Amazing  (the most overused word in our vocabulary)

Example : Man, that show was so amazing last night. What an amazing crowd and the guitar solo at the end? Amazing.

Words to use instead of “amazing”: fascinating, astounding, breathtaking, spectacular, terrific, magnificent and unbelievable.

Defintely 

“I’m definitely glad Susan was at the happy hour to help with the awkward conversation.”

becomes 

“I’m glad Susan was at the happy hour to help with the awkward conversation.”
Also, no more “definately.” There’s only one correct spelling.

Literally 

Delete whenever possible. The word literally does nothing for you

In Order 

The words “in order” may turn up in our writing for three reasons:
1. We try to make our sentences more professional.
2. We use them out of habit.
3. We assume the two words need to be there.

Example, “I wrote this line in order to show you how to use less words.
If we remove “in order,” the meaning stays the same  :  “I wrote this line to show you how to use less words.”

Such as

❌   “My internship taught me a range of skills such as project management, problem solving and time management.”

✅   My internship taught me a range of skills like project coordination, problem solving and time management.
People rarely use “such as” in normal conversation. So why write it?

[ ] Remove adverb
Removing these common "-ly" adverbs means your work reads faster!

- Diligently monitored all aspects of the project…
– Fully capable of working on the assignment…
– Incredibly excited to be here…
– Particularly interested in…
– Positively improved the office culture…
– Completely finished all work on time…
– Reliably consistent with all deadlines…
– Sincerely appreciated…
– Uniquely skilled at database management…
– Unquestionably the best team…

[ ] Cleanup Example

Example 1

❌ In order to learn extremely effective writing skills, it’s quite important that you are paying close attention and following instructions

✅ To learn effective writing skills, you must pay close attention and follow instructions.

Example 2: A job search email to a friend so he can forward your info to an employer

❌ Poor Version

Hi Allen,
Thanks for the help with the job search. 
I’m hoping you can pass along my information in order to let your company CFO know I’m interested in the 
sales position.

I have worked extremely hard at my previous sales job at Praj Industroes and believe 
I’m absolutely ready for the next opportunity. 
At the last job, I diligently handled external client relations and ensured every account received 
the necessary considerations when it comes to new products, service and training.

I’m not sure how well you know the CFO, but I’m curious if he has a timeline for the open position. 
I’d also like to know the kind of sales associate he wants to hire. 
I see the position asks for someone with four years of experience, and while I only have two 
I still think I’m qualified for the job.

I have attached my resume to the email. 
Again, I’m looking forward to hearing what the CFO thinks.

Thanks,
Mohit Malani
✅ Improved Version

Hi Allen,

Thanks for the help with the job search. 
I hope you can pass along my information to let your company CFO know I’m interested in the sales position.

I have worked hard at my previous sales job at Praj Industries and 
believe I’m ready for the next opportunity. 
At my last job, I handled external client relations and made sure every account received 
the necessary products, service and training.

I’m not sure how well you know the CFO, but I’m curious if he has a timeline for the open position. 
I’d also like to know the kind of sales associate he wants to hire.

I have attached my resume to the email. Again, I look forward to feedback from the CFO.

Thanks,
Dave Matson

image

© Base Camp Skill Labs Pvt. Ltd., 2021

Follow us

Contact us

icon

+91 93217 48851 (Click to start Whatsapp Conversation)

📌

Challenges - Data Sense Making