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Is it “ballsy” or stupid for a writer to do this?

I’d love to get you opinion on this. It’s been such a long time since I’ve applied for a job – and I’m not sure if my usual “ballsy” approach will work these days.

I usually travel the world teaching and training people how to improve their writing – especially how to write in a more engaging (yet professional and accurate style).


After years of travel, I’m keen to get a local job based in the city where my family and I live – so I don’t have to miss important events like my kids’ birthdays and sports events and performances.

TB notes on Singapore flight

Cleo Birthday 5

Anyway, I’m applying for a “local” writing job –  and an important part of the job is editing and ensuring correct spelling and a smooth style.

In reading the job description, I found  opportunities for improvement in the organisation’s writing.

On a positive note – I immediately saw that the organisation could use my help. I hatched a daring plan to use the job description to show my ability to catch and correct errors.

On a negative note  Daring was eroded by doubt  – “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win by fearing to attempt” (to borrow from a moderately successful writer)

I don’t reveal the organisation in this post.

I’m curious to learn other writers’  attitudes

What’s the current attitude about job applications – and doing things differently?

Are organisations so busy – that writers don’t care about catching and correcting mistakes?

Is it OK for organisations to expect perfection from applications – yet have mistakes in the job description?

What if the actual job requires catching and correcting mistakes? (This is what tempts me to try the “ballsy move” of showing the organisation how I can help it catch and correct errors)

Would pointing out any mistakes or opportunities for improvement help my application stand out?

Or is there a risk the organisation will just get annoyed? Is simple, unchallenging compliance better these days than “cockiness”?

I still make lots of mistakes in my writing especially when I am motivated by speed (for example writing a post to harness hooking into a breaking news event etc.) . Because I have made so many mistakes, I am also skilled at seeing mistakes and knowing if writers are using the wrong words.

word nerd CU

If you are interested in how to choose the correct words and a smooth style – here are two easy tips.

  1. The correct word. Many writers get confused between similar words such as: principal and principle.

In this example the correct word should be principle not principal.

Experience in writing for digital channels and knowledge of SEO principals applicable to copywriting.


An easy way to remember what word to use


A is the first letter in the alphabet – and so principAl is the thing of first importance.

The principAl of a school is the first person – the person in charge.

The principAl is the main amount of money – then there’s the interest on the principal.

A principle is a rule or belief governing your behaviour.

A principle is a scientific theorem or guiding best practice – as in the best SEO principles for copywriting.

Another area for improvement is to make the writing stronger by eliminating redundancies.

I always remember great news bosses making my news copy stronger by taking out unnecessary words.

For example “terrible tragedy”

I still recall a news boss crossing out terrible and saying “Mate, it’s stronger without terrible. Tragedies usually are terrible or else they wouldn’t be tragedies!

I understand copywriters often write things such as EXTRA ADDED BONUS – when a BONUS is something that’s EXTRA and ADDED.

I can understand adding the unnecessary words in SALESY copy – but not in professional business copy.

Here are two redundancies I noticed in the job ad.

1. Communications with a minimum of at least 3 years work experience, or equivalent.

My news bosses taught me you don’t need both minimum and at least.

Communications with a minimum of 3 years work experience, or equivalent.  OR

Communications with at least 3 years work experience, or equivalent.

2.    Prior copywriting experience

Experience usually is prior.

Maybe I’m just “anal” and too picky – because that’s the way I was taught.

Should I keep my mouth shut or should I use the organisation’s own job ad as an example to demonstrate sound writing principLEs?


I hope the selectors will be impressed rather than insulted at my skill of trimming redundancies. That will be an unexpected surprise*.

(*Yes – surprises ARE unexpected! I did that deliberately on purpose.)



If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


tony biancotti


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

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One comment on “Is it “ballsy” or stupid for a writer to do this?

  1. efangelist
    November 4, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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