And I never met a cliché I didn’t like.
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a profile at Linked In, Facebook or a resume. Worn-out phrases and clichés do not effectively communicate your value or your unique qualities. They do effectively prove that you are not original and cannot communicate extremely important concepts in memorable or meaningful ways.
We see two broad types of clichés. There are the worn-out phrases that are supposed to describe skills, and there are the very boring terms that express characteristics. Neither type of cliché helps promote your unique brand in the market – either job or professional. So why do we use clichés? I think they are crutches we use as substitutes for the hard thinking and difficult work involved with developing and communicating our brand.
What is easier? Saying that I have “excellent communication skills”? Or explaining exactly what that means. For instance, do my communications skills persuade? Inform? Motivate? Close deals? Educate? And if my communication skills do one or more of these important things, what type of results have I delivered?
So a more effective statement describing “excellent communication skills” might be:
I use verbal communication skills to persuade and influence colleagues and clients to take affirmative actions towards the resolution of strategic problems such as the development of marketing plans and sales team reorganizations.
This language sounds better and communicates more than, “I have excellent communication skills.”
Every cliché is some sort of shorthand. The trick to writing without relying upon clichés is to dig beyond the shorthand and identify the core of the message or concept. Then explain the core of the concept or idea in terms and language that fits you, your style and promotes your brand. The example I use for communication skills is just one possible way to effectively communicate a core concept about high-end communication skills.
So, as soon as you see yourself falling into cliché ridden writing – stop. Ask yourself, “What is at the core of this idea?” Then offer a more detailed statement around the core competency you are explaining and make sure you add a statement that helps the reader see you delivering value and results.
Here’s a quick list of some of my “favorite” clichés and a quick reference of some helpful questions to facilitate some more in-depth thinking around these “gems” of resume and profile drafting.
Do you enjoy team oriented relationships?
Do you get a sense of satisfaction from sharing ideas?
Is serving in a well-defined role important to you?
Do you take initiative in ambiguous situations?
Are you willing to manage yourself?
Do you thrive in open-ended assignments with little to no direct supervision?
Is this a description of your management/leadership style?
Do you lead by example?
Are you able to demonstrate and show team members or direct reports what is expected of them?
Are you at your best when working on projects that require pulling together ideas and concepts from multiple sources?
Are you good at seeing and making connections between and among things that appear to others to not be related or connected?
Do enterprise-wide projects hold your interest and attention better than narrowly focused projects and assignments?
Is this a description of your work style?
Are you most engaged when you have multiple projects to complete?
Do you thrive on lots of interpersonal contact and projects?
Do you meet deadlines?
Can you take several projects or assignments from start to completion simultaneously?
Can you lead some projects while contributing to other projects in different roles at the same time?
These are just a start. How many clichés can you add? Can you offer some advice on how to get to the core of the concept or idea contained within the cliché?
So – in closing:
I am an effective and enthusiastic writer using communication skills to drive results, in a hard-working and dependable manner. My 20+ years experience helps me multi-task so I can think out-of-the-box about being a terrific people person.
I am motivated to encourage my readers and clients to find creative and fun ways to express themselves in resume and profile writing. In general, my clients and readers discover that following some simple, but effective, tips and suggestions increases the readability and effectiveness of their resumes, and they usually see an increase in traffic across their social media profiles.
Post sponsored by, Cliché’ B-Gone! Your resume and profile development experts at BPI group.
Chris Osborn – a recovering “people person”!