Have you ever read some thing with bad grammar or misspelled words before? Maybe just a obvious mistake or to, nothing which makes the message unclear!
Notice anything wrong with the opening of this post?
Even the smallest of mistakes can be distracting to readers, and cause them to question the intelligence of the writer. When applying for jobs, your cover letter and resume give employers their first impression of you. You never want to miss out on an opportunity because you did not proof read! Applying for jobs is just one example. Written communication skills are one of the most important skills you can develop to be successful. The National Association of Colleges and Employers consistently list them in the Top Ten Skills and Qualities Employers Seek in Job Candidates, a list they publish annually.
Grammar is so important, our office designated an entire training session for student employees to clarify some common mistakes people make in writing.
- Pay attention to your comma usage
- Do you really need that semicolon? Short, simple sentences may work better.
- Word choices to be aware of:
- Who versus whom – who refers to the subject of a sentence, whom refers to the object of a sentence. Visit Grammar Girl for a quick and dirty tip to remember the difference.
- Use versus Utilize – you utilize something if it is doing a job it is not intended to do (e.g., He utilized his lacrosse stick as an ice scrapper).
- Sentence structure:
- No run-ons, be direct
- Avoid wordiness or using big words that make no sense for your purpose
- When writing your resume, use action verbs followed by specific details of how and why you completed a task to give employers a complete idea.
- Do not over use the same verb or adjective. Mix it up!
- Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check!
- Have a friend, teacher, tutor, Career Counselor, Peer Educator, or parent proof read any important document before you send it!
- Dos, Don’ts, and Maybes of the English Language by Theodore M. Bernstein
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
- The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
- The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English by Roy Peter Clark