Want to impress? Write plain and simple, say The Bagg Group experts


Whether you’re looking for a full-time job, contract work, or temporary placement, you’ll need to write marketing materials that sell you.

These include resumes, covering letters, and perhaps a profile which sums up your experiences and interests.  Likely, you’ll need to rewrite these many times.  Typically, you must customize these documents to every job posting.  Plus, you need to update them to include new relevant activities.

Most of us dislike writing such materials.  So we look for a little assistance.  Unfortunately, we often look for help in the worst possible place:  the thesaurus.

At The Bagg Group, we’ve reviewed too many resumes to count over our 40-plus years.  But, it’s safe to say we’ve studied well over 300,000 to successfully place almost 60,000 people in full-time, contract and temporary placements at the best companies in the GTA over the decades.

That’s why we know to tell all our candidates that the most impressive writing is the simplest.  Clear, to-the-point, sentences do everyone a favour—you, your recruiter, and every hiring manager you will ever approach.

The problem with using a thesaurus is that it temps writers to use complex “big” words where shorter ones would do.  Many believe they come off smarter if they use “sophisticated” words.  But the opposite is true.

Experts at CopyBlogger – a site for writers – cut to the chase when they say, “To sound smart, you must stop trying to sound smart.”   Recruiters at The Bagg Group confirm this advice.  And a Princeton University study proves it.

Psychology professor Daniel Oppenheimer conducted research that shows the use of overly-complex words backfires on the writer.   Readers are turned-off, and worse.  The study shows readers think writers who use such words aren’t very intelligent.

“Anything that makes a text hard to read and understand, such as unnecessarily long words or complicated fonts, will lower readers’ evaluations of the text and its author,” warns Professor Oppenheimer.

So what does this mean for your covering letter and resume?  For starters, write use instead of utilize, start instead of commence, and near instead of close proximity.   Only use complex words where no simple one will do.

The bottom line:  Write as simply and plainly as possible and it’s more likely you’ll impress. Or to put it a worse way, avoid manifestly erudite terminology to enable a desirable discerning estimation.  Get our point?

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