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Monday, August 27, 2007

New York Times on job seekers who can't write

The New York Times yesterday reported that nearly half of HR executives say that entry level job seekers are deficient in writing skills. As someone who has to wade through the cesspool of poor grammar and spelling known as cover letters and resumes, I'm actually surprised it's only half. I wish job-seekers realized that they can often catapult their applications to the top of the pile simply by submitting a well-written, well-proofread letter and resume, since it so stands out in the crowd.


Anonymous said...

In 1941 Winston Churchill sent the following to the First Lord of the Admiralty. "Pray state this day, on one side of a sheet of paper, how the Royal Navy is being adapted to meet the conditions of modern warfare." If some of today's applicants had received the memo, we might have lost the war.

Seriously, one of the best investments I ever made was making sure my children went to schools that taught them to write. If you can't communicate you can't get cooperation and you can't win. And if you can't write, you can't communicate.

Alison said...

It's so true. I always thought that if I were an English teacher, I'd give my students two-part writing assignments: First, whatever the normal writing assignment would have been. And then second, I'd hand that back to them and tell them to make all the same points in one-third of the space.

It's funny, so many schools teach kids to write long -- fill up space, reach a certain word count, bonus points for using vocabulary words. Yet what the professional world wants is short and concise, so they're learning the wrong lesson.