As I’ve previously noted, since I’ve been writing The Job Stalker and featuring my book reviews in here, I’ve been on the receiving end of the occasional review copy of “business” books. Some of these I never get around to (I believe I’ve mentioned that “business” reading is not one of my favored genres), and some I don’t feature because they don’t have much to do with anybody’s job search. This one, when it came in, was “teetering on the edge” of going to the “maybe someday” TBR pile, but it fit in (due to brief sections) with my needs when I was still struggling through those computer issues (and having to frequently reboot), so got read. Surprisingly, it’s a book that’s very funny, using humor to “soften the blow” of what could be a fairly stiff and pedantic subject.
Courtesy of the good folks at Ten Speed Press, Be a Brilliant Business Writer: Write Well, Write Fast, and Whip the Competition is, as one would suspect, a writing manual primarily focused on the needs of writing within a corporate setting. This comes from the team of Jane Curry and Diana Young, who have a Chicago-area consultancy for writing and editorial development, and it would appear that the material here is derived from the seminars and workshops they offer their fairly impressive client list.
The book flows through three general phases, the first third being “the basics” (which is the most dynamic and essential part), then going into very task-specific writing concerns (technical info, procedural documents, memos for upper management, financial reports, etc.), and finally moving into what seems to be “other” things not covered previously. In this last section is the chapter “If you want to write resumes and cover letters that will get you notices – in a good way”, which, obviously, has the most to do with this blog. This chapter is broken into 10 sections dealing with specific items to pay attention to for resumes, and five sections for things to do for cover letters.
At some points, this book seems targeted to the new graduate (and there’s even a chapter on making the dramatic shift from “academic writing” to “business writing”), but it certainly has coaching that’s applicable to anybody finding themselves having to communicate in a corporate setting. Being that this is, at core, something of a “manual of style”, there’s not much narrative or flow to carry the reader along, but the authors do try to make this less deadly with passages like: “If you think you are supposed to write the way you talk, stop thinking this. Most speech is unfocused, rambling, repetitive, and less organized than effective writing needs to be. Conversely, if you think you shouldn’t write the way you talk, stop thinking this too. Otherwise you’ll end up writing complicated, unclear documents full of convoluted sentences replete with an excess of multisyllabic words.”
In my review I discuss the book in more detail, but if you want to get a sense of how it reads, the authors have a number of .pdf excepts available on their site.
Personal Note: Well, it looks like you’ll “have BTRIPP to kick around” for a while. After 25 days of waiting since my third interview for that much-anticipated and very very very much desired Marketing Communications job, I was finally notified this morning that they hired somebody else. 🙁 … So, I’m “back to square one” on my search. Sucks to be me, eh?