If you read the headline of this post and thought it was an interesting article to read, and then you started to read it and it suddenly became clear the author doesn't appear to understand how to spell or use correct grammar, would you read it through till the end? There are many conclusions one could jump to about my expertise and personal brand just based on this 1 paragraph, isn't their? Okay, that might be a bit exaggerated for the average bad speller, but I have seen worse! In today's online world, your ability to spell and use proper grammar and punctuation plays a huge role in building your personal brand – especially if you're on the job search. Strong writing skills are incredibly important nowadays because writing is one of the main ways we communicate with each other at work. Your writing represents you and is often your first impression to a potential employer. And let's face it: first impressions are very hard to change! As a job seeker, the biggest assessment of your written communication skills will typically come into play after you have sent in a resume and cover letter. Why? Most people take great care in ensuring their cover letter and resume are error free. However, a surprising number of people do not. Do not be one of those people – especially when writing out a job application!
Where's Your Professional Writing Style?When hiring managers want to set up an interview with you, sometimes they will call you, but other times they might just send you an e-mail asking for some good dates and time for your interview. I like sending e-mails. Honestly, I prefer to communicate by e-mail so I can assess a candidate's written communication skills in "real" life. I know many people do not write their own cover letters and resumes so I'd like to see some writing that comes directly from you. Why are writing skills important? Most office jobs, nowadays, require employees to communicate with their customers /vendors/suppliers via e-mail. Would I want to have a new employee who writes like I did in that first paragraph? What was your first impression of me when you started reading this article? If you can't spell or put sentences together properly, people will draw some not-so-great assumptions about you. Sadly, I know some very smart people who can't spell or write good sentences no matter how hard they try. You must realize, though, potential employers do not know anything about you and will likely assume you do not pay attention to details, or are just lazy. This is a less-than-desirable first impression, isn't it?
How Your Writing Style Affects Your Job Search: Are You Writing To Your Friend Or To Your Potential Employer?In addition to proper spelling and grammar, knowing when to be formal or informal with your writing style is key. When I set up job interviews via e-mail, my last question to the candidate is a variation of “will 2:30 PM Friday work for you?" I typically get two different types of acceptance responses:
- “Dear Ms. Simko: Thank you for contacting me. Friday at 2:30 PM will work well for me. I appreciate your interest in me as a candidate and I look forward to meeting you on Friday! Best Regards, Bob."
- “Sounds great! See you then."