Avoiding Redundancy: Part 2 [Video]

Here, in one of my favorite sports moments, is one of my favorite athletes, Marshawn Lynch, a running back for Seattle Seahawks, giving us the down low on why he’s here? I won’t spoil it, but he’s no fan of fines.   

In my earlier article I talked a lot about redundancy. I talked about how to maximize your message and avoid boring reparative info. I focused mostly on the CV, specifically within the skills list, work history, and references. If you haven’t read it, check it out- here.

I want to move on now and address redundant information found in a multitude of application materials.

"Did I mention I graduated top of my class?" a job seeker mentions in an interview. "Only in your cover letter and CV, but please tell us again," said no HR manager ever.

It is important that each of your application materials: cover letter, CV, LinkedIn profile any supplementary application questionnaires, and even your Facebook profile provide a new and provocative perspective of your qualifications. Cutting and pasting from your resume to your cover letter or your LinkedIn is a wasted opportunity and it looks lazy. Keeping your application information fresh ensures that you don’t bore the HR manager and it also shows just how serious you are about finding a great job.

Soft Skills

Often in a cover letter or CV, a job applicant is eager to list qualities associated with character and personality. I can hardly blame them. Work ethic and discipline are frequently the first traits an employer looks for. "I can train anyone to work here, but I can’t teach hard work," an employer told me recently.

Consequently, soft skills are legion. Descriptive adjectives like ‘punctual’, ‘friendly’, and ‘creative’, are overpopulating bulleted lists or slipping awkwardly into cover letters. I once read the valediction of a cover letter that had replaced the words ‘sincerely’ with the word ‘punctually’. Yeah, um, don’t do that.

The reason why the soft skills and personality traits listed in your application materials are redundant is . . . your actual personality. Qualities like ’neat’ and ’outgoing’ should be evident to your employer after the first five minutes of your interview.

Your first impression is your skills list. You can claim to be punctual all day long on your CV and cover letter, but if you don’t show up to the interview on time, you’re not.

In short, if you’re nice be nice in your interview. If you’re neat, then don’t show up with a single wrinkle in your tie. If you’re punctual, then, for the love of Nicki Minaj, don’t be late. Don’t talk your walk, walk your talk.

Character Brags

Obviously (for most) negativity and self-deprecation have no business being in any of your application materials. Only slightly less obnoxious as negative self talk is what I like to call— The Infinity Brag.

The Infinity Brag is when the only part of a cover letter that is not about the applicant is the line, ‘Dear Hiring Manager’. The Infinity Brag is when you just finished a ten minute story about something awesome you’ve done, and you realize you can’t remember the original question the interviewer just asked.

Even if you are perfect for the job, even if you invented the position you are applying for, and your dad is the boss of the company, don’t be a jerk. If you spend your whole cover letter proclaiming your own greatness, your words will lose their power with each recitation, eventually forming a black hole of egocentrism whose gravity is so dense, light will be unable to escape its surface.

For the sake of life on Earth, please try and contain your aberrant self-love and focus in on those qualities that make you the best candidate. That funny thing that happened when you were in the Peace Corps – skip it. What you wrote your college dissertation on – don’t even go there. You don’t have to convince the HR manager that you are the greatest human alive; you just have to convince them that you’d be good for the job. You just need them to glance at your resume and give you an interview. You aren’t recruiting worshipers for a new cult about you; you just want a job. Trust me, sentence after sentence of self-aggrandizing dribble is redundant, and it not only gets old fast, but it reads like insecurity, not confidence.

Take Heart

After writing this article, I decided to review my own application materials. I found tons of redundancies, from similar job descriptions to repetitive and unrealistic brags about being the ‘greatest rapper alive.’ Keep looking over your material. It takes multiple revisions to make something perfect.

And remember, don’t be a jerk.

Are your applications full of redundancies? Let us know below...