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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to write monetary abbreviations in resumes and CVs

HOW TO WRITE MONETARY ABBREVIATIONS IN RESUMES AND CVs

Thanks to my AIGAC colleague Laura Freedman, who shared some great advice regarding numerical abbreviations in resumes.

How to use abbreviated numbers in resumes for international MBA programs and companies

PREFERRED BY INSEAD (and understood / acceptable at any top MBA program)
(from the CV self-review style guide INSEAD gives to incoming students)

Suggested numerical abbreviations:
  • k for 1,000 (thousands)
  • mn for 1,000,000 (millions)
  • bn for 1,000,000,000 (billions)
  • tn for 1,000,000,000,000 (trillions)

For Indians – avoid lakh and crore. For Japanese – avoid man. These terms suggest you're going to have difficulty adapting to an international corporate environment.

For currencies - we use currency code, but for major dollar denominations, we prefer US$ and SG$, CN$, AU$ and NZ$. The $ next to the number makes it easier to distinguish the currency from from the number, and is a symbol most people recognise, e.g., US$30k vs. USD30k, or CN$60mn vs. CAD60mn. Note that a common error is USD$ - either D or $ is fine but using both is not.

For other currencies, I prefer £ and € to EUR and GBP for readability. € is unique to Euro, and £ is dominant enough that nobody is going to mistake the currency for e.g. Cypriot pounds (unless you are from or worked in Cyprus, in which case it's best to use GBP for clarity).

As a general rule, convert currency amounts to US$, since it's a universally-understood international currency. It's also OK to use the currency for the market you are targeting, recognising that that signals you want to be in that market. Best to avoid other currencies. Most prospective employers (or B-schools) are not going to understand PEN40mn (Peruvian Nuevo Sol), or DZD246mn (Algerian Dinar), for example.

More tips on how to write numerals here


- Updated by Vince on Wed 24 Aug 2016


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What is "résumé English" and why should I use it?

NOTE: The below advice also applies to short answers in online application data forms 

To save space for quantitative data (#, $, %) and qualitative details (first, youngest, only, best), I encourage you to use "résumé English." What is "résumé English" and how do I use it?
  1. Remove articles 'a', 'an', and 'the'
  2. Delete all subjects 'I' and personal pronouns (we, they, etc.)
  3. Cut helping verbs ('is,' 'was,' 'were')
  4. Use verb tenses in the past, except for your present job. Example: Conducted routine inspections of on-site equipment
  5. Remove periods (.) from the ends of each bulletet achievement since you are not writing proper English sentences
  6. Remember to use power verbs: http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/03/verbs.html
(modified from http://esl.about.com/cs/englishworkplace/ht/ht_resume.htm; accessed 2012/07)


HOW TO WRITE NUMBERS IN RESUMES AND CVs
  • Change all number words (five) to numerals (5)
  • In essays, write numbers as words if below 10 (except $ or %)
  • In resumes and application data forms, however, you can ignore this "rule" in order to save space that is better used for impressive details that show quantifiable results ($, %) and qualitative impact (first, youngest, only, best)

HOW TO WRITE MONETARY ABBREVIATIONS IN RESUMES AND CVs

Thanks to my AIGAC colleague Laura Freedman, who shared some great advice regarding numerical abbreviations in resumes.

How to use abbreviated numbers in resumes for international MBA programs and companies

PREFERRED BY INSEAD (and understood / acceptable at any top MBA program)
(from the CV self-review style guide INSEAD gives to incoming students)

Suggested numerical abbreviations:
  • k for 1,000 (thousands)
  • mn for 1,000,000 (millions)
  • bn for 1,000,000,000 (billions)
  • tn for 1,000,000,000,000 (trillions)

For Indians – avoid lakh and crore. For Japanese – avoid man. These terms suggest you're going to have difficulty adapting to an international corporate environment.

For currencies - we use currency code, but for major dollar denominations, we prefer US$ and SG$, CN$, AU$ and NZ$. The $ next to the number makes it easier to distinguish the currency from from the number, and is a symbol most people recognise, e.g., US$30k vs. USD30k, or CN$60mn vs. CAD60mn. Note that a common error is USD$ - either D or $ is fine but using both is not.

For other currencies, I prefer £ and € to EUR and GBP for readability. € is unique to Euro, and £ is dominant enough that nobody is going to mistake the currency for e.g. Cypriot pounds (unless you are from or worked in Cyprus, in which case it's best to use GBP for clarity).

As a general rule, convert currency amounts to US$, since it's a universally-understood international currency. It's also OK to use the currency for the market you are targeting, recognising that that signals you want to be in that market. Best to avoid other currencies. Most prospective employers (or B-schools) are not going to understand PEN40mn (Peruvian Nuevo Sol), or DZD246mn (Algerian Dinar), for example.

More tips on how to write numerals here


- Updated by Vince on Wed 24 Aug 2016




Saturday, August 20, 2016

Show AND tell: the only rule for good writing?

There is an old journalistic maxim, “Show, don’t tell,” which demands that writers show their actions to express an event or story and not just offer the results of what happened.

Please summarize with details. Instead of abstract words, try using words that you folks images in the mind's eye of your readers. In this way, you penetrate the hearts of your readers.

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." 
— Anton Chekov

I believe there is only one rule for good writing: Show, don't tell.

To "show" means to demonstrate.
To "tell" means to assert.
Watch this video to SEE the difference http://j.mp/showTEll

For example, we may say, "He is sloppy." This is telling. Instead, if you say, "His shoelaces are untied, his socks are mismatched, his shirt untucked, and his face unwashed." This is showing.

In order to truly convince your readers, make sure to show with details exactly what you mean. Save your assertions for the topic and controlling sentences.

You can't tell us someone is a wonderful person, a talented musician or a spoiled child. We won't believe you. You must show us.

How?

Please add details so readers can imagine and care about your story. Please watch this short video to learn HOW to add details to your essays.

MORE TIPS
Essay Tip: Show, Don’t Tell

Tell

  • “I arrived at ABC Bank and took on a great deal of responsibility in corporate lending. I managed diverse clients in my first year and earned the recognition of my manager. Because of my hard work, initiative and leadership, he placed me on the management track, and I knew that I would be a success in this challenging position.”

In the two sentences above, the reader is told that the applicant “took on a great deal of responsibility,” “managed diverse clients,” and “earned recognition,” none of which is substantiated via the story. Further, there is no evidence of “hard work, initiative and leadership.”

Show

  • “Almost immediately after joining ABC bank, I took a risk in asking management for the accounts left by a recently transferred manager. Soon, I expanded our lending relationships with a children’s clothing retailer, a metal recycler and a food distributor, making decisions on loans of up to $1M. Although I had a commercial banking background, I sought the mentorship of our District Manager and studied aggressively for the CFA (before and after fourteen-hour days); I was encouraged when the Lending Officer cited my initiative and desire to learn, placing me on our management track….”

In the example above, the story shows the “great deal of responsibility” (client coverage/ $1M lending decisions) and “diverse clients” (a children’s clothing retailer, a metal recycler and a food distributor). Further, “hard work, initiative and leadership” are clear throughout.

The latter is a more interesting, rich and humble paragraph – one that is more likely to captivate the reader. By showing your actions in detail, the same conclusions are drawn, but facts facilitate them. Essentially, facts become your evidence!

(found at http://www.mbamission.com/blog/2010/11/22/monday-morning-essay-tip-show-dont-tell-2/; accessed 2010/11)


Sources and more links here: http://delicious.com/admissions/sdt

Need more hints? Check out Vince's best writing links here ▸ http://www.delicious.com/admissions/writing




- Updated by Vince on Sat 20 Aug 2016



Friday, August 19, 2016

What is a main idea or contribution?


MAIN IDEA and CONTRIBUTION

What is a contribution?

·      A contribution includes an addition to your field’s overall knowledge.
It is the main idea of your paper, and the main purpose of your research.
It answers questions like:
·      What are you researching?
·      What are you trying to discover, prove, or create?
·      How do you plan to add value to your academic field?

How to determine the main idea and contribution of your paper

  • Don’t start by describing your methods: “I analyzed mobile information terminals and found many issues related to power failures and natural disasters.”
  • Instead, focus on your main idea, like this: “A single-function emergency information terminal using energy harvesting technology would allow users to access important information during natural disasters. ”
  • Distilling your main idea will take some thought and effort.
  • You might need to rewrite your paper several times.
  • You might also need to write your discussion section first.
  • After confirming the terminology and methods described in your discussion section, write your conclusion.
  • Then, determine your main idea.
  • Once you decide your main idea, help readers to get it quickly by putting it in your introduction.
  • Your introduction should include the purpose of your research
  • What specific question will you explore? How does it fit with previous research?

Why you should start your paper with your main idea and contribution

  • Your readers are busy and impatient. 
  • Most of them will not read your entire paper from start to finish.
  • Instead, most readers will skim your text looking at topic sentences, key words, and headings in order to understand what you are talking about.
  • After they form their initial impressions, they might review each sentence to understand your logic and methods.
  • How can you catch and hold their attention during their initial skim?
  • First of all, be sure to include your main idea and contribution in your first paragraph.
  • Most writers do not tell us the contribution of their paper until the end of their paper.
  • Please do not make this mistake.


Exercise

· Find and circle your contribution.

· If you cannot find your contribution, or if it is spread out across several sentences, spend a moment crystallizing your ideas into one clear contribution sentence.

· Then, draw an arrow to the top of the page. Your contribution goes at the top!

Homework: Reorganize and write your paper so that your contribution appears in the first sentence.


- Updated by Vince on Sat 20 Aug 2016



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Common spelling and grammar errors (not picked up by spell checkers)

Please avoid these common spelling and grammar errors (not picked up by spell checkers)

There are many errors that are not detectable by spellcheckers.

There are words which, though misspelt, are actually correct spellings for the wrong word: "I go to work on Monday threw to Friday."

Please write well!


HOW TO PROOFREAD

First, I encourage you to use this three-step proofreading method.

1. SPELL CHECK

for careless mistakes
  • Please use the free spell and grammar check programs offered by MS Word and/or Google Docs.

2. READ ALOUD

to check your grammar and style

  • Here is the best way I know to avoid Vince's Dirty Dozen
  • Read your essay slowly and at full volume to catch awkward phrasings and words that you are using too frequently.
  • Then, record yourself reading your essays and listen to the recording.
  • Often, your speaking and listening skills are better than your writing skills. Therefore, hearing your voice through an external device helps you catch mistakes and notice areas for improvement.

3. READ BACKWARDS

to check your logic

  • After taking a short break, read your essay in reverse order (sentence-by-sentence, not word-by-word).
  • Start with your final sentence and work back to your first.
  • Are you making any logical leaps?
  • Are your transitions clear?


But wait. You are still not done! Before submitting your final paper, be sure to check for the following common errors that are not picked up by spell checkers.



COMMON ERRORS NOT PICKED UP BY SPELL CHECKERS 



The list below shows a number of common errors. It's worth a quick read-through to ensure that you have not made any of these mistakes. If you are doubtful about a particular word or phrase in your essay, use the 'Find in page' option on your browser to see if it appears here.


(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)


The following words are spelled correctly, but they are incorrectly used in most essays. Spell check will not catch them. Therefore, you need to read your essays aloud. If you want to be extra sure, record yourself reading your essays, then listen for awkward phrases and wordy passages. 





affect/effect


In most cases, 'affect' is the verb and 'effect' the noun.
  • "If I don't complete my assignment, it could affect my degree mark."
  • "I banged the door as hard as I could, but it had no effect."
However, 'effect' can be used as a verb in certain cases, meaning 'to bring to pass': "I wanted to talk to her to effect a reconciliation."

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)




border/boarder


Use "border" when discussing boundaries and edges, as in Doctors Without Borders, border guard, and cross-border M&A
  • "Boarders" refers to residents in a boarding house or school paying for their room and board (food), or people who ride snowboards
A 'boarder' is someone who 'boards' - a lodger.
A 'border' is a barrier surrounding an area; either a fence or sometimes simply a notional line, as in borders between countries. It is also used in computers to indicate the edge of an object - the borders of a page, for instance.
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)




career/carrier


You mean "career"; a "carrier" refers to a person or thing that carries, holds, or conveys something




criteria/criterion


'Criterion' is the singular, 'criteria' the plural.
  • "He seems to have met all the criteria."
  • "We must look closely at this criterion."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





hole/whole


A 'hole' is something you get in your sock (or roof, or whatever).
  • 'Whole' means a complete entity, rather than just a part:
  • "The shoes looked good, but it was a different matter if you considered the whole outfit."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





its/it's


'it's' (with the apostrophe) is always short for 'it is':
  • "It's a good job we didn't go out in this weather."
'its' (without the apostrophe) is the possessive case, i.e. 'belonging to it':
  • "This car has its own built-in air conditioning."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





led/lead


This is a confusing one, because 'lead' has two completely different meanings, depending on the pronunciation.
'To lead' (pronounced 'leed') is present tense, meaning 'to go in front of' or 'to guide':

  • "When the band is in a procession, the Sergeant-Major leads the way."
'lead' (pronounced 'led') is a heavy, soft, grey metal.
Led is the past tense of the verb 'to lead' described above. Hence:

  • "Joe led the way back to the main road."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





learned/learnt


"Learnt" and "learned" are two acceptable forms of the past simple/past participle of the verb learn, which means exactly the same thing.

Learn is an irregular verb in the British English where the past tense is spelt with a ‘t’ at the end - [learn/ learnt].

Conversely, Learn is a regular verb in the American English where the past tense is spelt with a ‘ed’ at the end - [learn / learned].

Thus, neither is incorrect as “learnt” is more commonly used in the British English, and “learned” in American English.





lose/loose


'To lose' (pronounced 'looze') is to misplace something:
  • "Whenever I'm in a hurry I always seem to lose something."
'To loose' is to free up, or loosen. More often used as an adjective:
  • "This belt is too loose."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





oversea/overseas


Overseas means across an ocean (or oceans), in another country

Oversee means to supervise

Oversea is not a word





plain/plane


A 'plain' is a large, flat stretch of land. 'Plain' can also be used as an adjective, as in:
  • "Annette was a very pretty girl, but her sister Molly was rather plain."
'Plane' is short for aeroplane (US: airplane) but can also be used for a flat surface or a woodworking tool.

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





pole/poll


A 'pole' is basically a long metal or wooden bar, but is also used to describe the North and South Poles, magnetic poles on a magnet, and extremes of opinion.
  • "She and her father are poles apart when it comes to politics."
'poll' is only used when it comes to voting, although it is used as a metaphor in other contexts.
  • "We conducted a quick poll, and came to the conclusion that option 3 was the most popular."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





principal/principle


'principal' is an adjective meaning 'main'. It can also be the head of a school or college.
  • "Coffee is the principal export of the country."
  • "We had a good discussion with the Principal concerning school discipline."
A 'principle' is a basic truth or law which someone holds to:
  • "To do something like that would be against his principles."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





'reason because'


Use 'the reason that' or 'the reason being' (but not 'the reason being is..')

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





roll/role


You can have a 'roll of honour', a 'roll down the hill' or a 'bread roll', but if you are playing a part in any sense, you are acting a 'role'.
  • "All winners will have their names added to the roll."
  • "He was present in his role as Vice-Chairman of the company."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





than/then


'than' is used when comparing things:
  • "It's much quicker than going on the bus."
'then' refers to a sequence of events:
  • "First I'm going to have a bath then I'll read the post."
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





there/their/they're


Probably the most common mistake in student work.
'their' means 'belonging to them':

  • "That's their car, I'm sure."
'they're' is an abbreviation for 'they are':
  • "I'm sorry, they're not in at the moment."
Any other use is probably 'there', which is used in a number of contexts:
  • "There is no point in going on about it."
  • "The accident happened just over there."
  • "Is there a cafe near here, please?"
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





'very unique'


The 'very' is unnecessary.
If something is 'unique' there is nothing else like it, so it can't be 'very unique'. (Consider 'extremely mediocre'.)

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





where/wear/were/we're


'where' refers to a place: "Where did I put those keys?" "It all depends where you want to get to."

'wear' is about clothes, usually: "I don't have a thing to wear." "This tire (tyre in UK) is definitely showing signs of wear."

'were' (pronounced 'wurr') is the plural of 'was': "They were all together in the lounge at the time."

'we're' (pronounced 'weer') is short for 'we are': "OK, we're just coming."

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)





whether/weather


A simple mistake, but very common. 'weather' refers to rain, sun, hail, snow, etc.
  • "The weather looks better than it did yesterday."
Whether indicates that a particular course of action is dependent on certain factors: "The question is whether she really wants that or not."

(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)




whose/who's


Can be quite tricky. Essentially, 'who's' is short for 'who is', so if you read it as 'who is' in your head and it makes sense, that's the right one.
  • "David is the one who's coming with me to the party on Sunday."
'Whose' is to do with possession.
  • "Whose car keys are these?"
(Thanks to Alan Rolfe at The School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London: found at http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/~alan/grammar/howlers.html; accessed 2012/03)




lunch →  launch



surly → surely 



issues arouse → issues arose



I leaned how to lead people → I learned how to lead people 



I want to join a manufacture →  I want to join a manufacturing company




I want to work as a management →  I want to work as a manager



- Updated by Vince on Sat 20 Aug 2016



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Use active verbs to convey power in your writing

Power verbs convey action.





Please avoid static verbs like

  • get / got
  • is / was / were (try to only use any form of "to be" 5 times in entire essay)





NY TIMES OPINIONATOR | DRAFT

Make-or-Break Verbs


By CONSTANCE HALE

Published: April 16, 2012
This is the third in a series of writing lessons by the author.

A sentence can offer a moment of quiet, it can crackle with energy or it can just lie there, listless and uninteresting.

What makes the difference? The verb.

Verbs kick-start sentences: Without them, words would simply cluster together in suspended animation. We often call them action words, but verbs also can carry sentiments (love, fear, lust, disgust), hint at cognition (realize, know, recognize), bend ideas together (falsify, prove, hypothesize), assert possession (own, have) and conjure existence itself (is, are).

Fundamentally, verbs fall into two classes: static (to be, to seem, to become) and dynamic (to whistle, to waffle, to wonder). (These two classes are sometimes called "passive" and "active," and the former are also known as "linking" or "copulative" verbs.) Static verbs stand back, politely allowing nouns and adjectives to take center stage. Dynamic verbs thunder in from the wings, announcing an event, producing a spark, adding drama to an assembled group.


Static Verbs


Static verbs themselves fall into several subgroups, starting with what I call existential verbs: all the forms of to be, whether the present (am, are, is), the past (was, were) or the other more vexing tenses (is being, had been, might have been). In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the Prince of Demark asks, "To be, or not to be?" when pondering life-and-death questions. An aging King Lear uses both is and am when he wonders about his very identity:

"Who is it that can tell me who I am?"

Jumping ahead a few hundred years, Henry Miller echoes Lear when, in his autobiographical novel "Tropic of Cancer," he wanders in Dijon, France, reflecting upon his fate:

"Yet I am up and about, a walking ghost, a white man terrorized by the cold sanity of this slaughter-house geometry. Who am I? What am I doing here?"

Drawing inspiration from Miller, we might think of these verbs as ghostly verbs, almost invisible. They exist to call attention not to themselves, but to other words in the sentence.

Another subgroup is what I call wimp verbs (appear, seem, become). Most often, they allow a writer to hedge (on an observation, description or opinion) rather than commit to an idea: Lear appears confused. Miller seems lost.

Finally, there are the sensing verbs (feel, look, taste, smell and sound), which have dual identities: They are dynamic in some sentences and static in others. If Miller said I feel the wind through my coat, that's dynamic. But if he said I feel blue, that's static.

Static verbs establish a relationship of equals between the subject of a sentence and its complement. Think of those verbs as quiet equals signs, holding the subject and the predicate in delicate equilibrium. For example, I, in the subject, equals feel blue in the predicate.


Power Verbs


Dynamic verbs are the classic action words. They turn the subject of a sentence into a doer in some sort of drama. But there are dynamic verbs - and then there are dynamos. Verbs like has, does, goes, gets and puts are all dynamic, but they don't let us envision the action. The dynamos, by contrast, give us an instant picture of a specific movement. Why have a character go when he could gambol, shamble, lumber, lurch, sway, swagger or sashay?

Picking pointed verbs also allows us to forgo adverbs. Many of these modifiers merely prop up a limp verb anyway. Strike speaks softly and insert whispers. Erase eats hungrily in favor of devours. And whatever you do, avoid adverbs that mindlessly repeat the sense of the verb, as in circle around, merge together or mentally recall.

This sentence from "Tinkers," by Paul Harding, shows how taking time to find the right verb pays off:
"The forest had nearly wicked from me that tiny germ of heat allotted to each person ."
Wick is an evocative word that nicely gets across the essence of a more commonplace verb like sucked or drained.

Sportswriters and announcers must be masters of dynamic verbs, because they endlessly describe the same thing while trying to keep their readers and listeners riveted. We're not just talking about a player who singles, doubles or homers. We're talking about, as announcers described during the 2010 World Series, a batter who "spoils the pitch" (hits a foul ball), a first baseman who "digs it out of the dirt" (catches a bad throw) and a pitcher who "scatters three singles through six innings" (keeps the hits to a minimum).

Imagine the challenge of writers who cover races. How can you write about, say, all those horses hustling around a track in a way that makes a single one of them come alive? Here's how Laura Hillenbrand, in "Seabiscuit," described that horse's winning sprint:

"Carrying 130 pounds, 22 more than Wedding Call and 16 more than Whichcee, Seabiscuit delivered a tremendous surge. He slashed into the hole, disappeared between his two larger opponents, then burst into the lead Seabiscuit shook free and hurtled into the homestretch alone as the field fell away behind him."

Even scenes that at first blush seem quiet can bristle with life. The best descriptive writers find a way to balance nouns and verbs, inertia and action, tranquillity and turbulence. Take Jo Ann Beard, who opens the short story "Cousins" with static verbs as quiet as a lake at dawn:

"Here is a scene. Two sisters are fishing together in a flat-bottomed boat on an olive green lake ."
When the world of the lake starts to awaken, the verbs signal not just the stirring of life but crisp tension:

"A duck stands up, shakes out its feathers and peers above the still grass at the edge of the water. The skin of the lake twitches suddenly and a fish springs loose into the air, drops back down with a flat splash. Ripples move across the surface like radio waves. The sun hoists itself up and gets busy, laying a sparkling rug across the water, burning the beads of dew off the reeds, baking the tops of our mothers' heads."

Want to practice finding dynamic verbs? Go to a horse race, a baseball game or even walk-a-thon. Find someone to watch intently. Describe what you see. Or, if you're in a quiet mood, sit on a park bench, in a pew or in a boat on a lake, and then open your senses. Write what you see, hear and feel. Consider whether to let your verbs jump into the scene or stand by patiently.

Verbs can make or break your writing, so consider them carefully in every sentence you write. Do you want to sit your subject down and hold a mirror to it? Go ahead, use is. Do you want to plunge your subject into a little drama? Go dynamic. Whichever you select, give your readers language that makes them eager for the next sentence.

Next from me: Pitfalls of passive construction.
Constance Hale, a journalist based in San Francisco, is the author of "Sin and Syntax" and the forthcoming "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch." She covers writing and the writing life at sinandsyntax.com.









MIT: Action Verbs
http://web.mit.edu/career/www/guide/actionverbs.html

Management Skills

Administered
Analyzed
Assigned
Chaired
Consolidated
Contracted
Coordinated
Delegated
Developed
Directed
Evaluated
Executed
Organized
Oversaw
Planned
Prioritized
Produced
Recommended
Reorganized
Reviewed
Scheduled
Supervised

Communication Skills

Addressed
Arbitrated
Arranged
Authored
Co-authored
Collaborated
Corresponded
Developed
Directed
Drafted
Enlisted
Formulated
Influenced
Interpreted
Lectured
Mediated
Moderated
Negotiated
Persuaded
Promoted
Proposed
Publicized
Reconciled
Recruited
Spoke
Translated
Wrote

Research Skills

Clarified
Collected
Critiqued
Diagnosed
Evaluated
Examined
Extracted
Identified
Inspected
Interpreted
Interviewed
Investigated
Organized
Reviewed
Summarized
Surveyed
Systematized

Technical Skills

Assembled
Built
Calculated
Computed
Designed
Devised
Engineered
Fabricated
Maintained
Operated
Pinpointed
Programmed
Remodeled
Repaired
Solved
Operated
Pinpointed
Programmed
Remodeled
Repaired
Solved

Teaching Skills

Adapted
Advised
Clarified
Coached
Communicated
Conducted
Coordinated
Developed
Enabled
Encouraged
Evaluated
Explained
Facilitated
Guided
Informed
Instructed
Lectured
Persuaded
Set goals
Stimulated
Taught
Trained

Financial Skills

Administered
Allocated
Analyzed
Appraised
Audited
Balanced
Budgeted
Calculated
Computed
Developed
Managed
Planned
Projected
Researched

Creative Skills

Acted
Conceptualized
Created
Customized
Designed
Developed
Directed
Established
Fashioned
Illustrated
Instituted
Integrated
Performed
Planned
Proved
Revised
Revitalized
Set up
Shaped
Streamlined
Structured

Helping Skills

Assessed
Assisted
Clarified
Coached
Counseled
Demonstrated
Diagnosed
Educated
Facilitated
Familiarized
Guided
Inspired
Motivated
Participated
Provided
Referred
Rehabilitated
Represented
Reinforced
Supported
Taught
Trained
Verified

Clerical or Detail Skills

Approved
Arranged
Catalogued
Classified
Collected
Compiled
Dispatched
Executed
Filed
Generated
Implemented
Inspected
Monitored
Operated
Ordered
Organized
Prepared
Processed
Purchased
Recorded
Retrieved
Screened
Specified
Systematized
Tabulated
Validated

Stronger Verbs for Accomplishments

Accelerated
Achieved
Attained
Completed
Conceived
Convinced
Discovered
Doubled
Effected
Eliminated
Expanded
Expedited
Founded
Improved
Increased
Initiated
Innovated
Introduced
Invented
Launched
Mastered
Originated
Overcame
Overhauled
Pioneered
Reduced
Resolved
Revitalized
Spearheaded
Strengthened
Transformed
Upgraded

From "To Boldly Go: Practical Career Advice for Scientists", by Peter S. Fiske




CV Store: Power Verbs
http://www.thecvstore.net/Power-Verbs.htm

The use of action words / power verbs, are essential in the promotion of your skills and experience. Using these words at the start of each bullet point under the details of your employment will assist the reader in noticing your key achievements.

The words you use will obviously depend upon your experience / industry so try not to just stuff your CV full of power words in the hope that this will look good. For example, a candidate applying for a managerial position will want to make use of words such as "oversaw, developed, improved and reduced", whereas someone looking for a more creative role will want to use words such as "designed, compiled and created".

Power verbs to accentuate organisational skills:

Arranged
Categorized
Collected
Compiled
Corrected
Distributed
Filed
Incorporated
Logged
Maintained
Monitored
Observed
Ordered
Organized
Prepared
Recorded
Registered
Reserved
Responded
Reviewed
Scheduled
Screened
Supplied
Updated

Power verbs used to highlight achievements:

Achieved
Built
Created
Developed
Established
Expanded
Founded
Identified
Implemented
Increased
Initiated
Instigated
Launched
Lead
Managed
Reduced
Solved
Streamlined

Other power verbs:

Administered
Advised
Analyzed
Approved
Completed
Conducted
Controlled
Coordinated
Defined
Delivered
Demonstrated
Designed
Instructed
Introduced
Maintained
Negotiated
Oversaw
Performed
Planned
Presented
Supervised
Supported





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    - Updated by Vince on Sat 20 Aug 2016