Dear Employre: Pleas hire Me.
Five simple writing principles for getting you hired.
This post was written by Maria Magdaleena Lamp, a Jobbatical copywriter with a crippling fear of unnecessary capitalization, apostrophe abuse, and unending corporate clichés. Please note that the illustrative examples provided below are entirely fictional. No actual jobseekers were harmed in the process.
Well-edited writing doesn’t just look good and make grammar sticklers feel all warm and fuzzy inside — it’s a powerful tool that increases your credibility and makes your application much easier to follow. Unless you’re after an editing or writing job, no hiring manager is (probably) going to discard your application because she disagrees with your punctuation or capitalization choices. But if it comes down to a choice between two equally promising candidates, and only one of them has clearly made the effort to clean up their writing, you can guess who will make a better impression.
At Jobbatical, we notice the common writing mistakes people make in their job applications. We’ve found that to succeed in the global job market, you don’t need to be a native English speaker with a fancy degree in proper comma usage. But you do need to pay attention to a few basics. Here are five principles to write by, along with examples of cover letters gone astray.
Paragraph breaks are your friends.
A solid wall of text without distinct paragraphs is going to exhaust readers and make them more likely to stop paying attention halfway through.
Don’t take shortcuts.
When describing your amazing self, always capitalize I. When referring to your potential employer, always write you, never u (or You, for that matter — often used in an attempt to be polite, a capital Y here comes across as archaic and, quite frankly, odd).
Always punctuate responsibly.
Don’t forget spaces after punctuation marks; forget all about spaces before them. Also remember that while a carefully placed exclamation mark can serve you well, using more than one at a time is rarely a great idea!!
Mind your spelling.
Numerous spelling mistakes, particularly in an application for a job that requires some level of English proficiency, do you no favors. Make a habit of looking up words you’re not sure about, and always proofread.
Know your limits.
A short, simple sentence with a point to it is better than a long-winded one that doesn’t tell the reader much of anything. Only attempt daring feats of flowery grammar if you’re confident in your ability to pull it off.
While it’s true that a job application needs oodles of substance to make an impression, there’s a lot to gain from making sure the style is there too. This doesn’t mean you should lose sleep over every comma and agonize about splitting infinitives (which is a perfectly acceptable thing to boldly do, by the way). It means you should use every tool at your disposal to let your future employer know that your heart is in your application, and that they can confidently invite you to represent their company to the world.