Whether you are interacting online, by mail, or in person the words you choose are important. Equally important is the way you use them. Snap judgements will be made about you based on spelling, grammar, and context. Now, I know that many of you are thinking “oh great here comes the spelling police…” So I’m going to try to sway your judgement with a few examples I’ve seen lately, I’ll try to anonymize them enough to protect the ignor-innocent.
The first example is the picture you see above. I’ll go ahead and tell you (if you haven’t figured it out) that it is from Subway. Now we could make a few assumptions based solely on the sign. Maybe the person who wrote it didn’t speak English as a first language (quite likely), maybe it was a person who spoke English as their first language but never learned to spell, it’s even possible that someone thought it would be funny to write the sign that way. However, the assumptions go further than that. The sign also reflects on the management of the store, and ultimately on the owner of the store. Does the owner have someone running the store who 1) has poor reading and writing skills? What does this suggest about their cash handling ability? Or 2) perhaps it’s the people that the manager hired who wrote the sign, but does change the reflection on the manager or owner? Not much. Do you have people associated with you that are impacting your image through their words or actions?
Let’s get an example that I found within our own land community on LinkedIn. When I read this individuals profile over the weekend I read something similar to this “I am looking for new business adventures and I’m looking for a work from home position to serve a replicable company or professional”. I’m going to choose to assume that this person knows the difference between replicable and reliable, at least that’s what I think they meant. I’m sure this person doesn’t want to advertise they want to work for someone whose business they can copy. However, I stopped reading the profile at that point — why continue reading when there are hundreds of people out there who want to do this type of work? Does your profiles, postings, resumes, or emails contain flaws that make people stop reading?
Then there are the things that give you away as someone who doesn’t know the industry as well as you would like people to believe. A few seemingly simple things come to mind that you would think people would overlook, but they don’t. Things like advertising that you are a “land man”, or maybe you’ve done something even more ghastly like calling yourself a “land person”. Someone recently posted that they are an ‘experienced landsman”. While you may think that these are minor infractions, these are the things that get your resume an inside view of the trash can. Oh, by the way, I picked up all those things from resumes posted on a popular job board for landmen.
My intent isn’t to point out the mistakes these people have made just to ridicule them in public, this is a business of details, and many people are very detail oriented. I could have made up fake examples, but they just don’t carry the same weight as the real thing. Likewise, we all make mistakes, I’m well aware that my writing on this blog isn’t the epitome of correct grammatical use. However, we must all do the best we can by proofreading what we write, and thinking before we hit send. The main takeaway here is that this is not an article about making sure you don’t have misspellings and grammatical errors on your resume, this is an article about how people perceive you. The words you write in emails, letters, and (yes) resumes will be judged — so make them count!