EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I guess the desire to shorten just about everything is part of human nature. I once worked with a guy named Harry and the boss insisted on calling him Har. I suppose he could have called him H, but maybe that was TOO short.

When I was in college, everyone was talking about the ATGSB. For those of you who don’t know, this stood for the Aptitude Test for Graduate Study in Business. Like slang expressions, folks use abbreviations to set themselves apart from others. If you don’t know what it means, you are probably not part of the “in crowd,” or at least MY in crowd.

With this as an introduction, I’m not sure if I can articulate everything I don’t like about abbreviations, but I thought I would give it a good start tonight by sharing a few of the ones that appeared on this week’s new members resumes.

Mfg. – I assume this means manufacturing. Okay, from the context it was an easy guess. I believe the reason it was used was that there wasn’t enough space for the full word to appear on the line in question. A little editing or reformatting would have allowed the full word.

AS, BS, BA, MBA – I see this a lot and I know what they mean, but spelling out Bachelor of Science on something as important as your college degrees can’t hurt.

B, M, Bn, k – When it comes to numbers, I know that B is probably for Billion, M is either for millions, or thousands and k is for thousands. Stop me if I am wrong, but the full number or the words Billion or Million spelled out looks a lot better. Again, being cramped for space is not a good excuse.

Rgds – This one I find particularly annoying. I know they mean Regards, so why not spell it out? If they are pressed for time, perhaps they should wait to write until they have the time to type the 3 additional letters. VBR or Very best regards is another winner in this category.

CPA – Honest, I know CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. I think it is okay to be abbreviated after your name, but in the body of a resume I would write it out. This goes for societies like AICPA, etc. (I hope you caught that I used an abbreviation for etcetera.)

Exec. V.P. – Yes, easy to figure out, but to me, writing out “Executive Vice President gives it a lot more dignity and the respect that it deserves.

UCLA – I am really impressed that you are so fond of your school that you can refer to it in this manner. I believe it is the University of California at Los Angeles. I think it is important to refer to things by their PROPER names and not their POPULAR ones. This goes for Wharton, which is I believe better referred to as The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

The use of abbreviations to me implies a certain arrogance that I SHOULD know what they mean. Of course I should, and I often do, but you will never know if your reader does and it may make a difference to him/her.

Use all abbreviations in your written materials sparingly. You will never know who you have offended or mystified.

Abbreviations that are okay are primarily the ones in common usage like Inc. for Incorporated and accepted state abbreviations. Just make sure you aren’t the only one who thinks they are acceptable.

Spelling things out for us simple minded folks can’t hurt and just may pay big dividends.

Regards, Matt

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