Adjectives Are Not Arguments, Part I

It is time that all of you grasped a simple yet profound truth of academic writing: adjectives are not arguments. Simply repeating the words: complex multivalent/multidirectional/multiplicitous unique diasporic transnational intersectional over and over in your documents, does not suggest that … Continue reading

Stop Acting Like a Grad Student, Redux: “After My Defense, I Will…”

I am always telling clients to stop “sounding like a grad student.”  But the trouble is, clients don’t understand all the ways that they do this. Some are obvious.  “While a grad student in the English Ph.D. program, I…..”  is … Continue reading

The Hash-Slinging Slasher

This fall, a new phenomenon has emerged in job documents—the slash/dash addiction. I think, if you read the examples below (which are shared with permission of the authors), you’ll see the problem.  In a way, it’s just another manifestation of … Continue reading

Banish These Words, 2014

Previously I told you to banish the words “unique” and “burgeoning.”   Here is a new set of painfully overused, excruciatingly tedious, annoyingly self-important, and frustratingly vacant words  to be banished in 2014:   Banish these adjectives: real-world  (what does … Continue reading

We Don’t Need Your New Perspective

If you have the words “a new perspective” in any of your job documents, get rid of it. It’s the tritest and most hackneyed of all job document language (that is not in the hyper-emotional-passion vein.) Who is not doing … Continue reading

Grad Student Grandiosity

Grad students tend to veer between two extremes: I know nothing and I know everything.  The latter position is an over-compensatory response to fear of the former. As you gain experience you find a middle ground of calm confidence. However, … Continue reading

When I Say ‘Be Specific,’ What Do I Mean?

As I explained in last week’s post, I won’t be blogging for the next few months while I get the Professor Is In book written.  However, I had this post in draft form, so I’m putting it up.  After this … Continue reading