Use Your Writing Skills to Get Hired, Not Fired

Texting, social media and blogging are now the popular kids in the grammar world, leaving the English language stuck home alone waiting for a phone call. Grammar, punctuation and spelling have been disregarded in favor of speed and convenience. It’s understandable if you’re just firing off a quick note or text to a friend, but when it comes to writing in the workplace, extra effort is required.

From resumes and reports to emails and memos, writing skills are something you’ll use whether trying to land a job or function in one. Writing has always been an essential part of work, but now its relevance is even more apparent as email is a primary means of work communication. It’s important that all your work-related writing is clear, concise and slang-free.

Resume Rules

As a potential hire, you’re more than a simple resume. But, your resume and the email delivering it are an employer’s first impression of you. Well-written resumes get jobs. Resumes that are thrown together, not tailored to a specific position and sent off without being carefully proofread get tossed aside. In fact, 63 percent of hiring managers say that errors or typos are the most annoying mistakes they see on resumes.

It’s a good idea to edit your resume down to one page while still allowing for enough white space to make it easy-to-read. The writing in your resume should highlight your accomplishments and relevant experience in short, action- and result-oriented language that will have prospective employers wanting to hear more.

Once you land a job with your polished resume, you’ll likely have to communicate with co-workers, clients and others via email in a professional style that’s different from writing your friends and family. Of the 28 percent of employers who have fired workers for email misuse, 62 percent did so because of inappropriate or offensive language, according to the Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey.

Your emails don’t necessarily have to be eloquent, but they should be well thought-out and presentable. Remember, they can potentially be forwarded anywhere — from important clients to company bigwigs. What you write is a reflection of you, and you want that reflection to be professional.

Cover Your Bases

If you aren’t the best writer, don’t sweat it; there are tools out there to help you. Make the spelling and grammar checking functions in your word processor your best friends, but keep in mind that they don’t catch everything. Also, you might visit the writing help desk at your school or ask a teacher to read over your resume. If you are writing an email using a program that doesn’t offer spell-check, write it in a program that does, then copy and paste it into the email.

Make sure to read and re-read what you write — there are always mistakes to catch. Keeping your writing error-free and professional can open many doors. Don’t let small things like grammar and spelling fall through the cracks and hold you back from impressing your potential or current employers. Make sure your writing is clear, organized and grammatically correct — otherwise it may cost you an interview, a promotion or even your job.

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