Saturday, November 12, 2005

The power of good editing

I'm preparing some resume and job application materials, and I've come to an amazing discovery. I had written a cover letter and resume and gone over it several times. As should be done with any important document, I had it looked over by other people. Some people pointed out stylistic approaches that were better. Some people pointed out things that were flat out wrong, like missing words. I edited it, and repeated the process.

It amazed me that no matter how many times I edited it, I could always seem to come up with something new that needed fixing. And we're talking about a page and a half letter and a one page resume, not a 400 page novel. I was finally prepared to turn it in, and at this point, I looked at it, Hillary had looked at it, TWO Human Resources people had looked at it, including one that is head of HR for his company, and two law students, some of them several times.

I was getting ready to turn it in, but I noticed that my buddy Jason had emailed me overnight telling me I was missing a word. I looked, and sure enough, there it was. Or wasn't, I suppose. It blew my mind that after that many people looking at it, and giving it the OK, that it still needed work. I went back at it, and probably made a dozen more changes before I finally felt that it was as good as I could get it. Most of the changes after that were simple stylistic changes, to make sentences sound more effective, but WOW. I could probably find five more ways to make it better if I looked at it again. I think I've long since passed the point of diminishing returns though. So it's in the mail, on its way.

The lesson to be learned is that having someone look over whatever you're going to publish, write, or say can have enormous advantages. Someone should tell Pat Robertson.

1 comment:

TheMemoWriter said...

Good article. I hope you spelled your name right...

"New Orleans asked for this tragedy [Hurricane Katrina] by advertising itself as a destination for jazz music. As every Christian knows, jazz music is sinful and lures people into eternal damnation."
-Pat Robertson

That's a quote from the site you linked to. Wow...what a freaking wacko. How can people get away with saying stuff like that? What year is it? 2005? I swear I smell witches burning somewhere.