One of the writing problems that stands out the most in this Fall’s job documents is the “painful repetition” problem.
This is when someone writes, “My dissertation, ‘A Study of Elephants,’ is a study of elephants.”
Here are some more:
“I have written a feminist poetry anthology: Waves: A Feminist Poetry Anthology”
“My article, ‘The Novels of Thomas Mann,’ looks at the novels written by Thomas Mann.”
This applies even when you slightly alter the form or order of the words, as in:
“My dissertation, ‘Nations Unbound: Transnationalism and mobility in a globalized age’ is a study of transnational and mobility an age of globalization, when nations are no longer bound by borders.”
What an enormous waste of your most precious job document real estate! Every word of a job document should introduce fresh new material that advances your case. Repeating the same idea twice squanders that chance.
It’s even worse when you keep doing it, over and over, as some writers do. Ie,
“My dissertation, ‘Nations Unbound: Transnationalism and mobility in a globalized age’ is a study of transnational and mobility an age of globalization, when nations are no longer bound by borders. I show how globalized populations increasingly cross national boundaries. Looking at border-crossing mobility in this way, I advance the study of transnationalism.”
Please don’t do this. A sure sign of this is simple word repetition (read more on that in this post). But check further for idea-repetition as well, since just substituting synonyms does not fix it. So don’t think the thesaurus app is going to save you. It isn’t. Word- and idea-repetition is just lazy writing, and you need to do the work to make sure that every single word of a job document is distinct and distinctive.