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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Spinning Class
Do you ever think about the essence of meaning of a word? For example, look at the phrase “less dissatisfied”. Saying “less dissatisfied” is the same thing as saying “more satisfied”. The meaning is the same but “less dissatisfied” has a more negative connotation. It implies that the person was dissatisfied and still is dissatisfied only to a smaller degree or extent. This is called in modern terminology “spin writing”.

Journalism and politics are FULL of spin writing. Opinion polls are often slanted in results because of the way they are written. I was called the other day from a polling entity and asked several questions concerning political issues. One of the questions was “Which do you feel would make an impact on illegal immigration: A: prosecuting employers who employ illegal aliens or, B: prosecuting/deporting illegal aliens that are arrested?” I asked if there was a C answer of “all of the above”. Of course there wasn’t. I had to choose one of their answers, rather than giving an accurate answer that reflected my opinion. So was it really an “opinion” poll or was it a “multiple choice poll”?

Resumes are the quintessential examples of spin writing. Most everyone can get down their basic job descriptions and even capture some accomplishments. What wins the interviews, though, is how the information is spun or presented in words to the reader. It’s a matter of word choice, inclusion/exclusion of selected tidbits of information, and overall strategy that makes for a winning resume.

Keep in mind that spin is NOT lying or being deceitful. Remember, “less satisfied” means the same thing as “more satisfied”. It’s the connotation or mental image that is communicated that is different. It’s the choice of words that makes the difference. Some information on a resume cannot be changed such as job titles, degree types, etc. but some information can be more powerfully presented simply through word choice. Most job seekers who write their own resumes don’t think about this. They think only about getting the information down. Getting it down and making it really speak to the goals is an art form.

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