Grammar is the foundation for communication. The better your grammar, the clearer your message. Of course we all make mistakes, but take extra precaution with your professional documents because with such intense competition in the job market, you don’t want to give hiring managers any reason to disqualify you for the position.
Tips for Grammar
- Spell check – Be aware, spellcheck does not catch everything. For example, to has a different meaning than too.
- No text language – Always spell out your words. Casual language can give an employer the idea that you are not to be taken seriously. Avoid LOLs and emoticons… always.
- No contractions – Contractions are words that use apostrophes to replace letters. These sound more informal than you want to use in formal letters. For example, write (and speak) I am instead of I’m.
- Read it aloud – It is often easier to catch mistakes when we read something out loud, even if it feels silly! Try reading to yourself or having a friend read it aloud for you.
- Know the rules – When in doubt, look it up! A good rule of thumb is that commas go where you would naturally take a pause in your sentence.
Remember: it’s all in the details
- This is someone’s first impression of you. If you claim to be “detail-oriented” or say that you have “excellent communication” skills, mistakes on your professional documents invalidate these claims as well as potentially the rest of your qualifications.
- If you failed to take the time to proofread and correct your professional documents for your application, you may not appear to respect or value a position with them.
Your professional documents represent your written communication skills. If their sample size of your written communication is one and you have a few errors in it or it does not flow well, a recruiter may assume you don’t possess this skill.