by Alan De Back
Over many years as a career coach, I’ve discovered that the most qualified person does not always land the job. You may have great credentials, but your lack of high impact writing skills could eliminate you from consideration.
How you present yourself in writing is critical to making the first cut. Whether writing a resume or editing your LinkedIn profile, a high impact writing style sends a message of energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism.
What are the most important elements of a high impact writing style?
- Use active voice. Active voice conveys energy and gives you the opportunity to “own” your accomplishments. You will also express yourself more clearly and concisely. Here is the difference:
I presented important project results to senior management.
Important project results were presented to senior management.
- Use action verbs. “Responsible for” is tired wording that doesn’t convey the action you took to achieve your accomplishment. Action verbs convey actions and outcomes.
- Use the simple “STAR” formula (Situation/Task/Action/Results) to outline your accomplishments. Using active voice, you will clearly provide an overview of your achievements without fluff. Here is an example:
- Situation: Senior management was unaware of the results of our very important project to reduce administrative costs by 10%.
- Task: My supervisor assigned me to develop a presentation to make management aware of our results, which reduced costs by 25%.
- Action: I developed a presentation that I delivered at the monthly senior management planning meeting.
- Results: Our CEO gave me written feedback that my message was delivered clearly and significantly impacted the budget meeting that followed.
Using the STAR format, your final overview of this accomplishment might look like this in your LinkedIn profile:
I recently designed and delivered a very successful presentation to my company’s CEO. The situation was that senior management in our company were unaware of a project my team was implementing to reduce administrative costs by 10%. My boss asked me to develop a presentation outlining how we actually reduced those costs by 25%. I developed a presentation that I delivered at the monthly management planning meeting. My CEO gave me written feedback that my very clear message had a significant impact on the budget planning meeting that followed.
In short, a high impact writing style will help you present yourself in a positive format that will help you land the job!