“Excuse me, madam, but are you perchance at liberty this evening for libations or the cinema?”
“Sorry. Are you free tonight for drinks or a movie?”
“Oooooh. I guess so…weirdo.”
Unless a guy lives in London in 1893 (or maybe hipster Portland in 2014), he would never ask a girl out with words like “perchance” and “libations.” That would be crazy, right?
Well, young professionals today actually do use an elaborate two-word expression all the time, and it needs to end.
The tiny phrase might seem insignificant, but “such as” screams out, especially to an employer. It says: “I’m trying to impress you. Pleeeeease hire me!”
Just. Be. You.
I have written before about the danger of “overdoing it” with job-related documents
such as like resumes and cover letters. Oops, see how easily it slips in there?
For example, “My internship taught me a range of skills such as project management, problem solving and time management.”
NO ONE uses “such as” in normal conversation. So why write it? Oh, I know why…
“Such as” is a classic college move. Back then, we all packed in unnecessary words to appear intellectual and mature, particularly on 10-pagers like “To Tweet or Not to Tweet” (actual term paper topic).
In the real world, fancy shmancy phrases are non-starters and don’t allow the employer to understand the real you. Proper grammar and punctuation always matter, but natural language lets you connect on deeper level.
More empty rhetoric:
– Utilize (big, useless word)
– Detail oriented (don’t tell me, show me)
– Responsible (should be implied)
When you finish writing and start the revision process (hint: print out the page to spot errors), make sure you search the document for “such as” and these ten problematic words and phrases (ex: “that”).
Be normal. Be enjoyable to read.
Remember: when it comes to documents like job applications, the reader is the only person who matters.
Agree with the “such as” critique?
Featured photo: maura_monahan (Flickr)