Who vs. That: The Grammar Battle Rages

Who versus that battle wages onWhen I first heard Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” I had to get a car jack to unclench my jaw.

But it sparked a memory and reminded me that I haven’t always had my “whos” and “thats” screwed on straight.

It was New York. More than a decade ago. 

A board member of the organization where I was interim executive director—who made her living in PR—saw an RFP I wrote and loved every bit.

Except my use of who vs. that. 

What?

I know. I groaned, too.

Turns out, I grew up in a world that didn’t care about — much less observe — the distinction between people and objects, and I was part of an eroding grammar norm.

That applies to objects. Things.

Who applies to people.

Think this is trivial? Beyond the scope of this blog?

You’d be surprised how many executives who work with me fill out their questionnaires and ignore the rule.

So Gotye should have sung, “Somebody who I used to know.” (Like Lady Gaga’s song “You and I,” should have been “You and Me.” Too bad it doesn’t rhyme, extolled here.

It stings. But once you adapt, you can’t go back. Plus, you’ll be swimming with the cool crowd. Or the dope crowd. Or whatever. Oops, whomever.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Visit: The Resume Studio.com
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Call: 415-397-6640

Are You an Air Quote Abuser?

Put down that pencil!

Put down that pencil!

Put down that offending pencil because today is Unnecessary Quotation Mark Eradication Day!

I’m here to single-handedly torpedo the use of unnecessary quotation marks.

Why, you ask?

It’s Friday, Jared, give us a break.

Trouble is, I know many executives—and even many fabulous folks who make their living writing—who “use” “quotation” “marks” “around” “everything” “they” “think” “we” “won’t” “entirely” “understand.”

The quotation mark, of course, is used to set apart spoken or quoted language.

Like this:

“Stop using quotation marks when they’re not necessary!” shouted Jared.

But somewhere along the way, quotation marks started appearing as air quotes in people’s fingers to symbolize nuanced communication.

Like this:

  • She’s a “dancer.”
  • The “gatekeeper” of information.
  • People don’t follow “bad leaders.”

So finger flapping naturally needed to shuffle over into our writing, right?

Wrong!

Using quotation marks to offset, emphasize, or enhance what is otherwise understood by a reasonably smart cookie (and who else would be reading our masterful work) is weak writing.

I’m not immune.

When I realized my own superfluous quotation mark abuse in 2000 (thank you Patricia T. O’Conner for your excellent work), I had a hard time breaking the habit.

I’d arrange cute little quotation marks here and there, then ask myself, “Are these necessary?”

Ten times out of ten, they weren’t necessary.

Air quotes assume our readers won’t get what we’re saying. (I was tempted to wrap quotes around the word get in that previous sentence, but you got it, right?)

Resisting finger flapping in writing challenges us to toss the crutches, and instead, write better sentences.

Wondering whether you’re an air quote abuser?

Have a peek at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks (there’s a blog for everything and we love it) for improperly used, user-submitted quotation marks.

Now pick that pencil back up and get it real sharp. It’s never too late to be a better writer.

Semi-related post: Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

How to Hide a Contact’s Activity on Your LinkedIn Newsfeed

Did you know you can hide a contact’s activity on your LinkedIn newsfeed?

I didn’t either, until I met with some LinkedIn folks last year.

Sure, you want to stay connected with your contacts. But some connections like to post a lot of updates. (Meanwhile, what is “a lot?” I post to LinkedIn several times a week, so I could be deemed “a lot.” It’s all subjective, isn’t it? So this post should really help.)

Related post: How to Hide Your LinkedIn Contacts from the General Public

The problem is, you still want to stay connected.

You don’t want to un-friend them overtly, right?

The solution? THE HIDE BUTTON!

Here’s how:

Click the “Home” button on your LinkedIn profile.

This is your newsfeed; information pumped to you from your connections, companies you follow, etc.

Hover over a status update and you’ll see the word “hide” appear in the right corner of the contact’s update frame.

Click “hide” (if you dare), and watch their updates disappear from your newsfeed.

The beauty? You’ve not deleted the offending obsessive status updater from your list of contacts. Instead, you’ve cleaned up your newsfeed from too many posts from the same person.

The downside is that you won’t see ANY of that contact’s updates unless you visit his or her profile page directly. A shame, because many prolific posters can offer lots of insightful newsfeed items. Plus, I’m not sure how to un-hide contacts (there must be a way), so be certain that hiding them is what you want to do.

If you know about “un-hiding” contacts, or have other related tips, share them here!

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Visit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Tweaks for Control Freaks (Part 2)

the traffic lights on white backgroundA week ago, I posted Part 1 of my ten tips for better controlling your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s Part 2:

Control Tweak #6:  Customize your public profile (Settings > Profile > Edit your public profile)

LinkedIn lets you “control how you appear when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.”

Thank you, LinkedIn.

One of the complexities of having a public profile on LinkedIn is that part of our credit worthiness comes from our career history. It stands to reason that some random individual with illegal intentions could use your LinkedIn profile — and other smatterings of data about you across the Internet — to create a profile in your name, and yes, even apply for and decimate your credit worthiness.

For this reason, I don’t allow LinkedIn to show my past positions publicly, and indeed, you may have other edits once you see the deep levels of customization LinkedIn offers.

Remember that information you’ve listed on your profile will still be fully visible to your connections, which gives good reason to know the people to whom  you are connected. Although even LinkedIn seems to be encouraging that we cast a much broader net these days.

While you’re on the page in question, scroll down and be sure you’ve customized your public profile.

Related post: How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL

Control Tweak #7: Edit your name, location and industry (Settings > Profile > Helpful Links)

I’d ignored this for several years, when in 2009 I took a training by Jason Alba ( author of “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?”) and he recommended that I change my profile headline from “Principal” to “Executive Resume Writer.”

The effectiveness of my profile changed within moments as Google inexplicably re-indexed my appearance in search, not to mention the value of searches inside the LinkedIn ecosystem.

After all, who types in “Principal” when searching for an executive resume writer?

:facepalm:

The same can be true for one’s industry. My profile’s performance increased dramatically when I changed from “writing and editing” to “professional training and coaching,” which more appropriately defines my work.

As an executive résumé writer, I want people to be able to reach me. I use my LinkedIn profile often, and I’m accessible. If I returned to retained executive search, however, I’d write my summary in third person, formal tone of voice, and lock down my accessibility. I might even stop posting status updates.

Decide the best approach for you, and set up your own profile to match your position and purpose on LinkedIn. Continue reading

LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Tweaks for Control Freaks (Part 1)

Writing Control Your LinkedIn Presencean executive résumé is baffling for many of the folks I speak to every day.

Too often the résumé becomes a bloated version of one written straight out of college, and by mid-career there’s so much information that it’s tough to be objective about what stays and what goes.

Then comes LinkedIn, posing as a résumé, but not really being a résumé because of its public nature, norms, and new boundary-pushing ways.

To be absent from LinkedIn is to marginalize opportunity. To be on LinkedIn without understanding it, however, is to potentially invite career gaffes and public blunders in a new age.

The result of all this confusion is a shell of a LinkedIn profile that looks like its owner doesn’t care.

Happily, LinkedIn offers a variety of settings and controls so we can sleep at night, and perhaps instill more confidence to meaningfully build out those profiles so LinkedIn can actually start working for us.

Here are five I’ve prepared for you to tackle this weekend. I’ll post the next five in seven short days.  Continue reading