One of my biggest challenges as a résumé writer is word economy.
Working mostly with executives and senior professionals, I struggle to tell a 20-30 year story on 2-3 pages. And that's with half of the first page dedicated to a person's 10,000-foot professional brand.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I could consistently draw on a simple trick to save space.
In short, any time you run into the word "of," see if you can flip the words on either side of "of" while keeping the original meaning intact.
It won't always work, as you'll see below, but it's worth considering every time you see the word "of" in your writing.
Examples that work:
SOLID: Economy of words
BETTER: Word economy
SOLID: Development of a new category
BETTER: New category development
SOLID: Managed an organization of 430 people
BETTER: Managed a 430-person organization
SOLID: Cash flow analysis of our clients
BETTER: Clients' cash flow analysis
SOLID: Levels of responsibility and reporting
BETTER: Responsibility and reporting levels
SOLID: Multiple rounds of layoffs
BETTER: Multiple layoff rounds
SOLID: Acquisition of U.S. Bank & Trust
BETTER: U.S. Bank & Trust acquisition
Examples that don't work:
YES: United States of America
NO: American United States
YES: Library of Congress
NO: Congress Library
YES: Economy of scale
NO: Scale economy
As I noodled on a title for this post, I thought about flipping the last part. This means "Add This to Your Bag of Tricks" would become "Add This to Your Trick Bag."
Alas, that's another example of a flip that doesn't quite work.
Tighter sentences for everyone! P.S. Where else but this post could I have used a picture of a jet ski mid-flip?