10 December 2018 at 7:30 am
In her second blog providing advice for job seekers entering and moving within the social sector, experienced recruiter Marilyn Jones discusses how words can harm your chances.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will harm you.
For one week I collated the emails addressed to me: Marylyn, Marylin, Merrilyn, Mariilyn, Merilyn, Sir/Madam, many with nothing at all.
And the winner is Marylyn. It was used more than 15 times. My favourite was “Dear Sir”. Yes, I am a “Sir”.
You’re probably reading this and thinking, “Oops, that was me!”. I am also not exempt, as I spelled a client’s name incorrectly recently too. I was in a rush that day.
However, if you do it all the time that’s when I begin to wonder.
Words, grammar and the structure of your CV and emails can harm your career prospects.
As I addressed in a recent Pro Bono News article, companies are looking for those outstanding candidates that have excellent soft (or enterprise skills). What is your soft skill of “attention to detail” like if you keep calling me names?
The Google online dictionary describes attention as “the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something”.
You are letting yourself down before you even have your CV reviewed or progress to interview. Incorrect addresses or spelling infers that you have bad attention to detail and that you don’t really care about your application to that organisation.
In addition, if you’re not writing correctly to me, then what are you going to be like writing to, or for the clients of the business that you want to work for? It puts a question mark against you immediately.
When it comes to the grammar checks please don’t be completely reliant on the spell check, as it may change the word that you had spelt wrong into something that has no relevant meaning.
Additionally, simple inadvertent replacements such as “there” or “their”, “great” or “grate”, “weather” or “whether”, “no” or “know” may change the whole meaning of a sentence or make it unintelligible.
Technology is still not quite a substitute for human proofreading.
So, take your time, slow down and read the name of the client properly, read the position properly, and read everything carefully. And please stop calling me names.
Oh, and that’s just emails this week that had my name wrong. I have not even started counting up the cover letters or other information that was incorrect.
About the author: Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers. Working for both niche and multinational recruitment organisations, Jones has worked across multiple sectors in many industry and business sectors both in Australia and the UK.
Each fortnight Marilyn Jones will be exploring topics that are relevant to your career journey. She will providing advice for job seekers entering and moving within the social sector. If you’d like insights into a particular topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the views expressed are the opinion of Marilyn Jones and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pro Bono Australia, its staff or contributors.