Looking for a job in the PR and marketing business? Keep in mind that effective communication is the cornerstone of this industry. If your resume or cover letter is poorly written, it doesn’t matter how many impressive internships your resume lists or how many glowing referrals you can tack on. You’re already dead.
Because the marketing industry is often seen as a sexy and fun industry, it is deluged with resumes. Yours needs to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons, like using any of these 11 killer buzzwords.
- People Person
Using this killer buzzword probably means that everything you know about PR and marketing came from watching TV sitcoms, where the PR person is the girl who goes to parties. A friendly, compelling personality can certainly be a plus in this business, but only if it’s matched with intelligence and the ability to make stuff happen – traits that do not leap to mind when you hear “people person.”
Nine out of 10 times you mean “figuratively” – that is, the opposite of “literally.” And if your writing literally communicates the opposite of what you mean, then you literally cannot communicate – and communication is literally essential in PR and marketing.
Because you probably mean “compose,” and if you don’t know what words mean, it’s unlikely you’re much of communicator. (See #2) I assume college communications departments are largely composed of professors who are members of a fan-club comprising lovers of the word “comprise,” because I see it a lot of it these days. (Parts compose the whole. The whole comprises the parts.) I think people think it’s a more sophisticated way of saying, “compose.” It’s not.
- “It’s” when you mean “its,” and vice versa.
The quickest way to identify a lack of writing talent is seeing confusion about “it’s” (a contraction for “it is”) and “its” (the possessive of “it.”) When we find this, we usually assume that the college degree is fake – or it took at least six years to obtain, which is about the same thing.
So, you couldn’t come up with a word to describe your feelings? And you’re a great communicator?
“Unique” literally (see #2) means “one of a kind,” not “really cool.” So, if you tell me you’ve done something “unique,” chances are that you actually haven’t – and I start wondering what else you’re lying about in your resume.
Thanks to extreme overuse, this word means nothing – or everything. Either way, it communicates no information, other than the paucity of your vocabulary (and, by extension, your lack of interest in original thinking).
This word encapsulates all that is awful about the way 21st Century humans relate to each other. We don’t affect something, we impact it. And the effect we have is an impact. All of this smashing and mashing sounds painful. It’s the vocabulary of pretentious thugs.
What is the difference between “use” and “utilize?” One word is used by people who want to communicate clearly. The other is utilized by those who think intelligence is measured by the number of syllables in your words. It ain’t. Pomposity has its place, such as in satire. Anywhere else, and the joke is on you.
- Non-Anglo-Saxon words
English is an amalgamation of words from many languages, but especially Anglo-Saxon (spoken by the Germanic tribes who invaded England when the Romans left), Norman French (thanks to the Norman Invasion in 1066) and Latin (the language of the Church). So, in many cases, we have three ways of saying the same thing, such as “ask” (Anglo-Saxon), “question” (Norman French) and “interrogate (Latin), or “goodness,” “virtue” and “probity,” or “rise,” “mount” and “ascend.” Since good writing is clear writing, it’s often wise to rely on good old Anglo-Saxon. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, of course. There can be many reasons why “virtue” or even “probity” is a better choice than “goodness,” such as the shades of meaning these words have acquired over the centuries, but it should be a conscious choice. Using a $10 word when a nickel one will work doesn’t impress anybody. In fact, just the opposite. Like wearing a tuxedo to a pig roast, you just look foolish.
- Business Jargon
Because at the end of the day it’s never a best practice, and certainly not a win-win on a go-forward basis, to try to leverage your skill set and hit all the touchpoints in a synergistic fashion with an inane vocabulary that proves you can’t think outside the box.