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Watch your Language: How to Make a Great First Impression

Watch your language - how to make a great first impression

If first impressions are made within less than twenty seconds of meeting, our written words create the same impression in our physical absence.

We know that a badly written introductory letter or CV can jeopardise one’s interview and job opportunities, while for the already employed, poorly written reports and terribly written communication could demolish any chance of promotion.

Today, we are going to give you some great tips to make sure your CV is top-of-the-pile once you’ve wowed potential employers with your impeccable grammar in your cover letter.

Unfortunately, bad spelling can cause a reader to assume the worst about the writer’s intelligence and so these “word-slayers” compromise their credibility every time they commit their thoughts to words. It is like turning up for an interview with uncombed hair and egg stains down the front of your shirt.

Language – A Poor Example

In our nation with no less than 11 official languages, it is unrealistic to expect that every person applying for a job can speak, spell and write using the Queen’s English. You’ll see in a moment just how badly it can go, even for those born using English as their mother tongue. Furthermore, there might be job opportunities at companies that do business in other languages. Whatever the language you use in business, there are grammatical rules to abide by and spelling to check, if you are to create a great first impression. Most of the jobs advertised on RecruitMyMom.co.za are in English so today we will give you some general language tips.

The excerpt below is a true statement from a sales representative who claimed English as his primary language. It is an example of lazy writing, neglected grammar and a sad disregard for punctuation or spelling.

“To some grammer is very important but they so busy nitpicking, they can loose sight of the bigger picture. As well, spelling and punctuation can divert them to miss there gaol that should be to be performance based and insure your understandable and on target when you submit a report. Imho ideas are king.”

Words fail him. Words fail me too!

His unfortunate attitude and failed grasp of the rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling have created an unfavourable first impression. This chap comes across as an ignorant person, who doesn’t care for detail, planning or logic.

He’s trying to send a message to say it only matters that he is understood, but ironically, his statement is barely comprehensible. Based on two badly executed sentences, he, unfortunately, comes across as careless and potentially ill-educated to the reader who has never met him. See how simple it can be to lose credibility just by using language carelessly?

If this sales representative submitted a job application written in a similar style to the excerpt above, the sad truth is that most recruiters wouldn’t take the time to read his CV. I wonder, what would his chances have been for a face-to-face interview? Not good.

READ  6 Things Not To Wear To An Interview

Let’s make sure you know how to avoid all these pitfalls.

Spelling

Simple mistakes can often be avoided by using a simple spell checker. However, some mistakes can slip under the radar even after performing a spell check. For example, some words, called “homophones” sound the same but are spelt differently and have separate meanings.

Often tricky, it is essential to use them correctly. Here are some examples:

  • Principal/principle
  • Too/to/two
  • Peace/piece
  • Team/teem
  • Band/banned
  • Their/there/they’re

Don’t lose a good job opportunity, promotion or even a prospective friend or partner by playing fast and loose with grammar.

Grammar

Good grammar makes good sense, be it on social media, business websites, in emails and on blogs. Remember: Once you click send, your written words with their opinions, ideas and biases are out there.

Here at RecruitMyMom, we all have a sneaky little tool installed on our computers called “Grammarly“. It’s a free grammar checker that instantly eliminates grammatical errors and enhances your writing. Grammarly is brilliant at suggesting where you might need to change your sentences, and add or delete punctuation.

 

grammarly

Though your message might be important, if it is controversial or confrontational, you run the risk of being doubly judged for bad grammar and spelling. Imagine your point-of-view being dismissed as irrelevant after simply being judged as illiterate.

Another tool we love is called “After the Deadline“. You paste your written piece into a box and click Check Writing to get feedback on your writing. Click an underlined spelling errorgrammar suggestion, or style suggestion to see more options.

 

After the Deadline - Polish My Writing

Punctuation

Finally, punctuation is important and can change the entire meaning of a phrase or sentence, so take the time to reread what you’ve written a couple of times using different tones of voice. The following headline has, at first glance a somewhat sinister meaning:

“Celebrity finds pleasure in cooking her family and her dog.”

Can you see how the writer could have added two humble commas to change the meaning completely?

“Celebrity finds pleasure in cooking, her family, and her dog.”

 

From a recruitment point-of-view, what could be as important as presenting yourself favourably by a well-written, intelligent, thought-provoking job application?

Words are how we express what we feel, see, hear and understand so they have everything to do with creativity and intelligence.

In constructing your words well, you’ll demonstrate that you value precision and order so watching your words is crucial in helping you to reach your objectives.

Further reading:

I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.

 


Ready to apply for the job of your dreams? Register on our award-winning recruitment site and fill in your detailed CV.

 

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