Photo Credit: Maxime Perron Caissy via sxc.hu
Everyone wants to sound smart. Being smart can help you get ahead in the world but being smart and using big words do not necessarily go together.
Take a look at the previous short paragraph. The longest word was “necessarily” and I would argue that nothing in those two sentences was very fancy. You can find all of those words in normal conversation. Using common words makes the reading easy to understand and quickly gets the point across.
Let me try to re-write that first paragraph in a way that tries to “sound smart”:
We have all heard the saying “addition by subtraction.” I propose a new saying here; “addition by simplification.” Complication is sometimes just that and ends up confusing the reader. Remember this simple rule: “If I need a thesaurus to find the right word, chances are the reader will need a dictionary to figure out my meaning.”
Jonathan Ytreberg is the owner of Best Word Forward, committed to providing the best resume advice and services to clients around the globe.