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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Resume & Cover Letter Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW 
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    Great resumes don’t simply happen-they are planned carefully, and all share a set of specific aspects that set them apart from the rest of the pack. Those aspects are as follows:

    1. The purpose of a resume is to position you for the next job you plan to take. So your resume should be written, not to the past, but to the future. The person reading your resume should be able to envision you performing the job being advertised before s/he is finished reading. How do you do that? By relating your accomplishments in such a way that you show that you’ve met the challenges of that job before.

    2. A resume is a commercial, and the product being sold is YOU. Think of the most memorable commercials you have seen on TV or heard on radio. Chances are they all made a clear statement about what the product was and what it would do for you. There’s the shaving cream commercial that ends with the wife giving her clean-shaven man a big hug. Or the diet plan commercials that promise you’ll lose weight.

      That clear statement is called a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, and your resume must have one too. The USP is the talent, skill, personal trait, experience, or some other intangible that sets you apart from the competition. Were you the first, the best, or the most effective at something? That can be your USP.

    3. A resume must include all contact information so employers can reach you easily. These days, in addition to name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, you may want to consider including your web page, LinkedIn address, or other online presence. And your e-mail address must be something professional: Hotstuff (at) xxx.com will give the wrong impression. Consider changing the address to your name (at) your e-mail provider.

    4. A strong profile or summary is critical to a successful resume. This is where you will get the opportunity to lay out your USP. You have a few lines in which to get the reader’s attention and sell that reader on why you are the answer to the company’s need. Daunting? You bet. But if you’ve researched the industry and company you’re targeting, you ought to be able to come up with the reason why that company should hire you. If you can’t… perhaps you’re targeting the wrong company.

    5. A successful resume must be rich in keywords related to the targeted industry. You will find these keywords right in the ad, and you must include them if you want your resume to get past the initial reader. These days, that “reader” may possibly be a computer programmed to search for specific words and phrases, so it is critical that your resume include this language.

    6. Now we come to the most important aspect of a successful resume: Accomplishments. It used to be that you could write a job history on your resume and get hired based on that, but no more. Employers nowadays want to know what results you’ve achieved. Items such as “answered phones all day,” “work well with others,” or “solid team-building skills” will simply not fly any more. Now the emphasis is on what you did with those duties; how you turned each instance of performing your duty into something great and wonderful.

      So you didn’t just answer phones all day, you “served as an impassable gate guardian,” which enabled your manager(s) to fulfill their responsibilities without interruptions. You didn’t simply work well with others or possess solid team-building skills, you “assembled diverse individuals and molded them into a solid team working towards a common goal.” Employers don’t buy duties, they buy results, and your resume had better show plenty of results. As motivational speaker and career coach Jay Block has said, “A resume without accomplishments is like a report card without marks.”

    7. Education, Awards, Honors: You might think including an Education section goes without saying, yet I have seen numerous resumes that left off this important element. Education is so important, employers frequently included it as a “must have” in their job requirements. To leave education off your resume is to automatically count yourself out of most of the positions you’ll be applying for. If you possess a college degree, you can leave your high school education off the resume, which will save the space for something else, but by all means include your education.

      Awards and honors can be seen as part of achievements or as part of education, but if you have them, you need to show them. Did you win Employee of the Month? Out-sell your competition and your team members? Did you discover some new catalyst that caused the chemical reaction you’d been seeking for over a year? Tell the employer about it. To leave such off the resume is to cheat yourself of the credit you richly deserve, and could mean the difference between your resume ending up in the “Yes” pile or the “No” pile.

    All of these aspects, when used together properly, can make the difference between success and failure of the resume. Make sure your resume has them before you send it out. Your future depends on it.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    If you are a recent college or even grad school, law school or medical school graduate, your education section is probably the first on your resume (after your header and possibly a summary/branding statement). Why? Because school what you’ve done most recently, and it is most relevant to your potential employer. (There may be exceptions to this rule if you have an extensive and relevant work history. If you think you are one of those people, ask an expert for advice.)

    The following are five useful tricks for organizing your Education section. Follow these suggestions to pack in lots of information without taking up half the space on your resume:

    1. What should the basic format be?

    a. List your educational institutions in reverse chronological order, just as you do with your employment history.

    b. The most important part of each school section is the name of the school you attended. Put it in bold and/or Small Caps, followed by the city and state. Use the same format you use for your employers.

    c. Next put the degree you received. If you are anticipating a degree, write “Candidate for B.A,” “B.S. expected,” or “M.A. anticipated.” Fill in the appropriate degree of course.

    2. Do I need a separate line for my GPA and for each of my honors?

    To save space, you can combine your GPA and honors onto one line, and even put them on the same line as your major. How much you combine things will depend on how much room you have on other lines. Here are some possibilities:

    a. BA in Political Science, cum laude, 2006 (GPA: 3.41)

    b. Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, concentration in Psychology, May 2005

    Major GPA: 3.73; Cumulative GPA: 3.68

    3. How should I list Honors and Activities?

    You do not need a separate section for either Honors or Activities. Only create these separate sections if you need to fill space! Instead, put them under the appropriate school entry.

    Do you have a lot of honors and/or activities? If you need space, you can group them together. For instance, you can have a bullet that says “Honors:” and follow that title with your honors, separated by semicolons. Then have a bullet that says “Activities:” and list your activities, separated by semicolons. You can put any relevant dates in parentheses after the honor or activity, and before the semicolon.


    a. Honors: Undergraduate Honors Thesis Research Grant (Honors Program award); Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; Golden Key International Honour Society

    b. Honors: Dean’s List (2006-2009); Baylor University Alumni Scholarship (2005-2009); Greek Women’s Leadership Award (2009); Midwest Conference Academic All Conference Team (2008 and 2009)

    c. Activities: Latino/a Student Association, Secretary (2006-2007), Delegate/Community Service Committee (2005-2007); Mexican Student Organization, Social Chair (2005-2006); South American Student Association, Member (2004-2007)

    d. Activities: Varsity Women’s Basketball Team, Four Year Letter Winner; Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, Board Director (2006-2007) and Member (2004-2007); University Chapel Choir, Member (2004-2007)

    4. Do I need a separate section for Study Abroad?

    No! Study abroad is part of your undergraduate education. It can be a bullet, or if you want to emphasize it because of your international interest or language ability, you can bold it. Do not put a space between your undergraduate degree section and the study abroad section, unless you need to fill space.

    Example of bullet format:

    [end of undergraduate section here]
    • Junior-year semester at University of East Anglia, Norwich, England (1993)

    Example of bolded section under undergraduate section:

    [end of undergraduate section here]
    Reid Hall, Columbia University, Paris, France

    Summer 2003 Study Abroad (Coursework: 19th Century French Painting, French Language)

    5. How long should the Education section be?

    Unless you’ve already earned five different degrees from five different schools, your education section generally should take up a maximum of a third of a page. This means it’s important to get Experience to put on your resume and not rely on your Education to get you a job!

    Implementing these five suggestions will give you a great start on your Education section, making it both efficient and effective.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    By Barbara Safani

    A longer resume is not a better resume. In today’s fast-paced world, hiring managers generally spend less than 15 seconds looking at a resume. They want to be able to see your key differentiators quickly, and they will rarely look past page two to find the information they need. So how do you keep your resume concise without sacrificing clarity or quality? Here are some common resume problems that can result in a document that is too long and some recommended fixes.

    A Long Job History

    If you’ve been working for 20 years or more, it can seem like a difficult task to craft a resume that is only two pages. But this can be accomplished without sacrificing the quality or accuracy of the document. One strategy is to create a separate category for all employment experiences that are more than 15 years old and group them in a section labeled Early Career Experience or Additional Experience. This section allows you to summarize early experience in just a few sentences and save space for more recent and relevant information.

    Additional Experience
    Prior executive leadership experience with XYZ Company as Vice President of Sales (1990 to 1996) and five year career with ABC Corporation progressing in various sales, sales management, and corporate marketing positions.

    Multiple Temporary or Consulting Assignments

    If you have worked multiple assignments during a short period of time, your resume can become confusing for your reader, and the short gigs can make you look like a job-hopper at first glance. To remedy this, create a category called Temporary Assignments or Consulting Assignments and give an overview of the highlights of the experience rather than listing the details of each.

    HR Consultant, various assignments 2008 to Present

    XYZ Company. For global technology solutions company, selected to create U.S. recruitment strategy for division representing 1,500 employees in six offices. Trimmed recruiting budget (projected savings of 25-50%) using non-fee, referral, and social media recruitment strategies. Recruited team to support $17M in new business.

    ABC Company. Developed the business strategy and execution plan for an alternative candidate sourcing model that minimized agency costs and leveraged online networking and employee referral programs to deliver $100K in savings in first 5 months of implementation. Also developed and revised employee handbooks for Baine Co. and Matthews & Associates.

    Too Much Information About Job Tasks

    Resumes can become unruly if you include long lists of job responsibilities followed by long lists of accomplishments. To prune your document, create a paragraph of no more than 5 or 6 sentences to explain your job tasks and only bullet your key accomplishments. This strategy will save space and allow your reader to focus on your most important achievements.

    Created the strategic direction and execution plans to support large scale corporate events and product launches. Oversee all pre and on-site communications and advertising, media planning, exhibit construction, invitation management, VIP hospitality, sponsor management, and exhibit construction. Manage relationships with 5 advertising agencies. Budget: $10M; Staff: 3 direct reports, 10 indirect reports

    • Recognized with Marketing Award in 2011 for orchestrating the company’s most successful campaign at the country’s premier sports event while trimming event costs by 10%.
    • Project-managed product marketing campaign at an international ski resort resulting in 30,000 qualified leads in just 3 months and a 5% conversion rate.

    Dedicating Equal Space to Every Job Experience

    Just because you’ve held seven jobs over the course of your career doesn’t mean you should dedicate the same amount of space to each job. Focus on relevance and generally spend more time explaining more recent positions than those held earlier in your career.

    Poor Use of White Space and Fonts

    Sometimes resumes become too long because of poor decisions about design. Don’t create margins that exceed one inch on any side, and use a font of either 10 or 11 points.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:09 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    When we were kids, we all loved stories. Well guess what? That hasn’t changed! The fact is, we all still love a good story. Hiring managers love good stories. Customers and clients love good stories. Always remember: the person you’re writing for is a human being! How do you get another human being to read your document? Spin a good yarn!

    All kinds of people are saying “No one reads cover letters anymore.” Well, of course no one is reading them – because they are stilted and boring and no one can get through them! Have you ever considered that if you write a good enough story in your cover letter that it really *will* get read!

    For instance, I worked with an architect on a cover letter that did much more than list his accomplishments. Rather than just stating that he worked on a project on a college campus, he shared what it took to ensure that the building fit with the existing architecture on the campus. This story showed the consideration and creativity he puts into every project. And it got him several interviews and ultimately his dream job.

    Do you have an example of a time when a project was failing, and you stepped in to fix it? That makes a great story! Is there an example of something you achieved that relates to the job you’re applying for? Don’t be afraid to tell these stories in your cover letters!

    On your resume, too, tell as much of a story as you can in a bulleted statement.

    What not to write: “Assisted scientists with their research.”

    What to write: “Conducted genetic, epidemiology, and behavior research on sport fish in Illinois, Canada, and the Bahamas.”

    (Ah, now that sounds interesting!)

    What not to write: “Increased EBIT $3.6M.”

    (While this accomplishment is impressive, it doesn’t tell the whole story.)

    What to write: “Increased EBIT $3.6M by negotiating cost incentive clause and motivating workforce to contain expenses; turned around project experiencing cost overruns to an $11Msurplus, a 28% improvement.”

    (This bullet provides context, making the $3.6M sound even more impressive.)

    Whatever the reason, we all love a good story. Tell one in your resume and cover letter. If you do it well, your readers will want to give you a chance to write the next chapter.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Are you an online job seeker? If so, I have some important recommendations for you.

    Here are my top 4:

    1. Have a 100% complete profile on LinkedIn.

    2. Fill out all the information on your Facebook profile completely, and post only professionally appropriate photos.

    3. Maintain a Twitter account with your first and last name as your Twitter handle (eg. @JaneJones).
    4. Post your resume on line and link to it from all the above accounts.

    Who recommends this four-pronged strategy? At least one highly successful recruiter, Shally Steckerl of Arbita, Inc. EVP, who presented to a group of career professionals at a Career Directors International annual conference. I was there and I was convinced.

    Issues to Consider When Posting

    Before posting your resume online, consider privacy issues. You probably do not want to post your home address details to the entire world. City and state will suffice. You may or may want to make your phone number available to the public. (In my opinion, a public phone number is a relatively low risk and will allow recruiters to contact you.)

    For an email address, consider creating a designated email for your job search and use that one on your resume. You will then cut down on any spam and you’ll be able to keep all your job-search related emails in one place, with a low risk of having them get lost amongst other messages.

    How do you post your resume online?

    There are many ways, and I will suggest just a few here:

    1. Post it on Google docs. Here’s an article from SimplyHired that does a great job of explaining how. You might need to change your Google Docs view to the old version of Google Docs if you can’t figure out some of these instructions, or you might be able to translate the instructions to the new version.

    2. Post it on Indeed.com. Indeed is a highly recommended job posting site, free to both you and employers who post jobs there. If you post your resume, you will be given a URL for your resume page. The cool thing about indeed.com is that you will get a resume Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s) can read! You can then save it as a.pdf and use it to apply to other jobs that use ATS software.

    3. Create a website. The Essay Expert can help you with this. You can have a page with your resume and link to it from your other social media profiles. By the way, if you’re reading this article and haven’t done so already, you should go ahead and purchase the domain name for your first and last name or some version of it! Be ready with the domain so when you want to create your website you can do it.

    4. Attach it to your LinkedIn profile. First download the application Box.net and then you will be able to upload your resume. The resume will then be available to people who visit your LinkedIn profile.

    Following the above recommendations will set you up to be successful with your online job search.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    By Amanda Augustine

    Many of you out there have asked me about cover lettersWhat do I say? What should I not say? Is there a general one I can use for all my applications? Is there a template you can give me? Do I really have to write one?

    Here’s what I think. I’ve talked to a lot of recruiters while working at TheLadders, and about 50% of them say the cover letter is essential. The other 50% admit they never look at them and jump straight into the resume.

    So what does that mean for you?

    You better write that cover letter! When you’re submitting an application, how do you know what side of the fence that recruiter falls on? Better safe than sorry, right?

    I know that as a job seeker, it’s really hard to understand how these recruiters operate. We could talk for hours about recruiter behavior and how frustrating it can be when we don’t hear back or get feedback. But that’s another topic for another day…

    Here’s what you should keep in mind for today. They’re busy. I mean, really busy. They’re typically trying to fill a number of positions at the same time, all with hiring managers hovering over their shoulders or bombarding them with emails, wanting to know when they’ll have resumes to review for their open positions.

    So it’s in your best interest to make it as easy as humanly possible for a recruiter to quickly scan your cover letter and get the important information out of there. There are a number of ways this can be done.  If you’ve come up with something that’s getting you a ton of responses, keep using it (don’t fix something that’s not broken!)

    But if you’re struggling with the cover letter, check out one format that I’ve always liked – it’s called the “t-format”.

    The main components of your cover letter don’t really change:

    • The first section introduces you and then talks about why you are interested in the job and company. This is your chance to demonstrate you’ve done your homework and know something about the company or industry.
    • The middle section show why you are qualified to do this job – how does your experience and skill set meet the must-have core requirements of the position?
    • The last section closes the note, showing your enthusiasm and creating a “call to action”. You don’t just ask them to review your resume; you let them know when you will follow up with them about your application.

    The t-format comes into play with the middle section. It’s designed to show a recruiter how you stack up against the job requirements quickly and clearly. Recruiters look at a resume for an average of 6 seconds – how long do you think they spend on your cover letter? My guess is not very long.

    To write a t-format cover letter, make 2 columns for the middle section: the left column is “Your Needs” and the right column is “My Qualifications”. Go through the job description and pick out what you think are the must-haves for the job.

    Remember that a job description will have a long laundry list of ideal nice-to-have skills. Your job is to choose the top 3 requirements that match your experience. If you’re trying to make a career transition and have to get a little creative by choosing a requirement that doesn’t seem as high-priority, so be it. These requirements will become the mini sections under the “Your Needs” column. Now write a little blurb for each of the requirements in the “My Qualifications” column.  Try to reference examples of your work that demonstrate how you meet each of the hiring manager’s primary needs.

    Don’t forget to make sure whatever you highlight in your cover letter is easy to identify on your resume. You may need to make a few tweaks to the resume to that it speaks more clearly to the must-haves in the job description.

    Try this exercise out and compare the cover letter to what you would typically write. Does this seem clearer? Give it a try with your next few applications and see if there’s a difference in the response rate. Remember, since approximately 50% of recruiters aren’t interested in your cover letter, you’ll need to try this out with a number of your applications before you can really determine if it’s making a difference.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    I have received many inquiries from clients who think it’s a good idea to copy their current job description into their resumes, and/or copy the job description of the position they’re applying for into their resumes.

    I STRONGLY recommend against both tactics.

    1. Copying current job descriptions

    Your current job description is just a list of job duties. The cardinal rule for resumes in today’s job market is to write your resume as a list of achievements and accomplishments, NOT as a list of job duties! I would go so far as to say that your job description has very little to do with what you actually do and accomplish in your position.

    I’ll take myself as an example. The job description for one of my past positions, at the University of Wisconsin Law School, says that I counsel students on their legal career search. It doesn’t say what my success rate is, or how creatively I work with students’ cover letters and resumes, or that I created a PowerPoint presentation on Resumes for Law Students. It doesn’t mention the 5 job search resource manuals I created for various big cities across the United States. It doesn’t mention the positive feedback I get from the students I work with.

    It is my job to put these successes, which are nowhere to be found in my job description, into my resume. They speak much more to what I will accomplish in my next position than that I “assist students with resumes and cover letters.”
    Guess what? You don’t need your current job description to write your resume. Just write about the things you’ve done well that will be relevant and impressive to the reader.

    2. Copying future job descriptions

    Isn’t copying the job description of the job you’re applying for is the best way to ensure you have the right keywords in your resume? NO!! Although the keywords might be there, your ruse will be discovered immediately. If you make this mistake, you will not get called for interviews, and if you do, your lies will be discovered during the interview.

    Instead, write your resume to highlight your accomplishments. Create the best document you can create. AFTER you have put together a great resume, THEN see if there are additions and other tweaks you can make to include some of the keywords from the future job description—while staying honest!

    I recently worked with a client applying for a Senior IT Director position. The position description listed “Develop and approve exceptions to policy…” His resume initially did not have the phrase “approve exceptions to policy” in it, even though he truly worked with exceptions to policy regularly. He was able to add this phrase into an already existing bullet regarding his program management accomplishments.

    In general, when crafting a winning resume, truth and honesty are the best policy. Don’t get lazy or think you’re “working the system” by using the cut and paste functions on your keyboard. What will get you an interview is your unique accomplishments. Focus on those and you will see success in your job search.

  • 17 Dec 2015 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Just about every client I work with lately brings up the rumor they’ve heard that no one reads cover letters anymore. This rumor is ONLY a rumor and if you take action based on it, you will shoot yourself in the foot in your job search.

    In an article posted on Work Coach Cafe, a successful job seeker named John relates how the CEO of a company personally reached out to him to thank him for sending a cover letter! In fact, John was the ONLY candidate to send one — most likely because everyone else believed the rumor that cover letters never get read. John made an impression.

    The cover letter is your opportunity to show genuine interest and to make a case that you are specifically qualified for this job.

    Why would you tailor your resume to a job and then write a generic cover letter? If you are truly interested in a position, it is worth your time to write a unique letter to the company about who you are and why you would make a difference for that company. Do not write a generic letter and send it along with a generic or somewhat tailored resume to zillions of job listings, hoping that you’ll somehow win the numbers game. That is NOT the way to get a job!

    Instead, begin building a relationship right from the start with the company that might be your future employer. Imagine yourself in this job and write down what you will bring to the position. Sell yourself.

    Anyone can spot a cover letter that is really just a mail merge. Remember: You are a human being and, if you get past the computer scanners, so is the person who reads your cover letter. By writing a custom letter, you reveal your humanity and respect the humanity of the HR person or hiring manager. If you begin early to develop a relationship with that person, you are in great shape to be asked for an interview.

  • 17 Dec 2015 9:47 AM | Anonymous
    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Conventional resume wisdom says to keep it to one or two pages, depending on the extent of your experience. Are you having trouble meeting these page requirements? If you have a few lines that you just can’t fit onto that page, the following formatting tips may help.

    Note: These tips are for your traditional resume, not your scannable/ASCII resume. They are for the human readers who will appreciate a nicely formatted document!

    • Margins. Are your margins set at 1” or 1.25”? Try 0.5” top margin (above your header); 0.6” bottom margin; and 0.8” left and right margins.
    • Font Size. Try reducing your font size, even by 0.5pt. Acceptable font size depends on the font you are using. I recommend actually printing the resume to see how it looks on paper. Radical? Maybe. But worth it. Looking at a hard copy will ensure that you do NOT reduce the font size so much that it leaves your readers squinting!
    • Header. Your header does not have to take up 4 lines. Many resumes have a header that looks like this (and takes up way more space than necessary):

      Future CEO
      5555 Future Street
      Land, CA 55555
      (555) 555-5555

    Alternatively, consider something like:

    Future CEO  
    5555 Future Street, Land, CA 55555
     (555) 555-5555

    See how you have magically saved almost three lines that can be used for substantive information?
    • Space between blurbs and sections.You don’t need to put an entire space between experience blurbs or sections of your resume. Instead, if you currently have full spaces between entries, try this:
    1. Delete the space that is currently there.
    2. Put your cursor at the beginning of the line.
    3. Go to the Paragraph menu or Page Layout menu.
    4. Insert a 6pt space before or after the line, as appropriate.

    If you insert a 6pt space before or after a line, it will almost always be a smaller space than the one you create by putting in a full line of space. Here’s an example:

    How many extra lines can you squeeze from your resume with this trick?

    • Dates of Employment. Do you have your dates of employment running down the left hand column of your resume? This format may be using up prime resume real estate! If your resume uses this format and you are having space issues, try this:
    1. Put the name of your employer all the way to the left margin of your resume.
    2. Put the location right after the name of the employer (preceded by a comma or dash).
    3. Put your dates of employment all the way to the right by inserting a Right Tab at your location of choice (probably at 6.5” or so).

      To insert a Right Tab:
    • Either double click on the ruler at the spot you want to insert the tab, or go to the Paragraph menu.
    • Click on Tabs.
    • Insert the position in inches where you wish to insert the Right Tab.
    • Under “Alignment,” click “Right.”
    • Hit OK or Apply.
    • If your text jumps off the page as a result of this maneuver, have no fear! It has not disappeared, it has just moved beyond your viewing area. Place your cursor where you know the text should be and start hitting the delete button. Eventually the text will come back onto the page and be nicely aligned at the right tab you created.

    If you are still having trouble fitting your resume onto the page, you may need more extensive organizational assistance to condense and prioritize your blurbs and bullets. There are many ways to pare down your language and still get your experience and skill across.

  • 17 Dec 2015 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    “I apologize for writing such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” – Mark Twain

    It’s debatable what the actual quote is and whether it is actually Mark Twain’s, but either way it’s a great statement of the truth. It does indeed take longer — much longer — to write a short letter, blog post, essay, resume, etc. than it does to write a long one.

    I have frequently taken two-page resumes and cut them down to one without loss of content. Five-page single-spaced personal statements reduce to 500 words. Remarkable right?

    An example: I worked with a social media marketing expert to create the “perfect” blog post for LinkedIn. The original draft was 5,504 characters long — 1,777 characters over the LinkedIn limit!
    In 15 minutes, we had edited the blog down to size.

    How did we do it? Here are some tips to help you make the grade:

    1. Look for anything that could be characterized as “window dressing.” That’s the stuff you write around the important points! Find the nugget and stick to it!

    2. Are you repeating yourself? Stop! Once is enough. We get it.

    3. Stay organized. Often the source of rambling language is simply lack of organization and focus.

    4. Ask yourself about each and every sentence: How many words can I remove from this sentence and retain the meaning? Go ahead… remove those extra words! You can do it! (Yes, there are extra words in that last sentence. Can you find them?)

    5. If you’re really in a bind, remove or reduce the space between bullet points or paragraphs. Only take this drastic measure as a last resort. White space is a prized commodity, especially in a blog or resume!

    6. If you remove something and your message no longer transmits, put it back in! There’s always somewhere else you can cut out.

    The process takes time, but it’s worth it. Your newly trimmed writing will be snappy, punchy and geared to today’s short attention spans! If you are reading this sentence, I’ve followed my own advice.

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