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by Lisa Johnson

over 1 year ago

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I admit it.  Flat out admit it.  I am a grammar snob.  I am the person who reads Facebook posts filled with bastardised abbreviated words and sometimes have to ask my 14 year old for a translation.  Modern written lingo makes me feel old.  Dated.  Frumpy.  I have been made aware that my eyebrows are definitely not “on fleek”. It escapes me why the youth of today had to retire a perfectly usable word that starts with W and sounds like anchor and replace it with something far more confronting (you may need to research this one).  

I am sad to see the death of the W-anchor; it has been a word I have used freely and with fondness over the years. Language is a living thing.  If we actually did a ‘Lost in Austen’ time travel trip, chances are we would have a LOT of trouble understanding what people of that era were banging on about and I am pretty sure that if you over indulged in the after dinner sherry and decided to give them an acapella karaoke version of ‘Like a Virgin’, you would be sent to a sanatorium for some rest and recreation.  

On an aside, in my youth, I misread the word sanatorium and was convinced that mad people were sent to the factory that made Weetbix.  

It kind of made sense when you were 12 years old. So it’s the natural order of things to see our language change and develop.  We live in an era when things are changing very quickly.  The rise of the text message has bastardised our written language at an incredible rate.  Which is brilliant for people who have never been able to get the ‘your / you’re thing sorted’, because now they can just use the ubiquitous ur.  I shudder every time.  But it’s me, not you.   I know that. However, there is still business communication etiquette.  

Quite frankly, I can’t think of very many times when you should or could use ‘ur’ in a corporate environment.  Probably because the people making the decisions and rules are grumpy old people like me.  I would assume that in some state of the art ‘startups’, run and manned by trendy millennials, they are considerably more flexible on written word rules, but those kinds of employers are still in the minority. 

Do people miss out on job opportunities because they used bad grammar or ‘text speak’ in their application? 

You bet they do.  Every word you write is important.  The first stage in selecting a candidate is reviewing the resume and comparing it against, not only the vacancy criteria, but also every other resume that has been received for the same role.  Bad spelling, text speak and unprofessional language, will reflect badly on you when compared to someone who has a well worded document. 

That means your resume has a higher chance of being placed into the ‘No’ pile – regardless of the fact that you, could be the best thing since bread was sliced.  Sigh, I remember sliced bread from the ‘before’ – you know that period of time before we learned that bright white sliced bread is as good for you as crack cocaine. 

What if I can’t spell or my grammar is a bit weak? 

Uncle Google (as I like to call it) is your friend.  Google ‘online grammar check’ and voila!  There are a number of free tools you can use to check your document.  Not only will it spell check, but also evaluate sentence structure.  You never need write a badly worded, mistake filled application letter again! 

But I don’t have time… Yeah you do.  You have all the time in the world, because if it isn’t correct, then you might just end up sitting at home with the horror of daytime television. Remember – application cover letters do NOT have to be long and wordy.  You don’t have to use big or complicated words.  In fact DON’T, because if you don’t know what they mean or how to use them, it’s just as awful as writing ‘ur’ or ‘thx’.  

Keep it simple, short and sweet and make sure your sentences address the ‘requirements’ of the role. Remember the recruiter / hiring manager is going to spend less than 30 seconds reading your cover letter and resume (on average). Don’t bamboozle them with bastardised words.  

Keep it clear, keep it concise and keep it professional. I know, I know, I am a grumpy old woman.  I have clearly reached an age where ‘hip’ is something that aches in the mornings and ‘cool’ is the setting on the air conditioning in your car, not your place in society.  So you can take my words with a grain of salt (assuming you are still allowed to eat salt) and ignore me.  But those pesky ‘old school’ baby boomers and we ‘desperate-to-deny-middle-age Gen Xers’ may not consider your application if you do. Kind regards In house Grumpy Old Woman

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