The Devil is in the Details

“Where r u?”
“I’m to full.”
“There coming at 10:00am.”

Let’s face it. Excellent (even acceptable or mediocre) grammar skills are on the decline. But that doesn’t mean it’s no longer important, especially in business. Grammar is relevant for all companies. Good grammar automatically increases your ethos (especially on the internet). In e-mails, on websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook posts, your words are the thing by which the world judges you. If your website does not employee the correct usage of “your” or “you’re,” chances are visitors will position their mouse over the exit button because for better or worse, you are being judged.

For those looking to be hired:

When applying for a job in this tough economy where your application is one of dozens, even one sloppy spelling or grammar mistake could be the difference between getting the job and getting the boot. Here are a few tips and resources that might be helpful:

1. Print and read your resume, cover letter, and application aloud. This allows you to catch more mistakes than if you are just reading through silently. Your brain makes up for spelling and sentence construction discrepancies, your mouth does not.
2. Read Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation and Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference by Lynne Truss. They are an entertaining approach to learning correct punctuation. Even if you think you have punctuation figured out, these books are a great resource.
3. For a more comprehensive look at grammar try English Grammar for Dummies by Geraldine Woods.
4. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes by Jane Straus is a college-level workbook designed to brush up skills and explore some of the finer points of grammar.
5. When all else fails, and you cannot remember the difference between “affect” and “effect,” Google it before you turn in that resume or writing sample!

For those who are doing the hiring:

At first glance you might think grammar has nothing to do with the intelligence, creativity, or job performance of your employees. But that just isn’t the case. Attention to grammar shows an attention to detail. If an applicant doesn’t think grammar is important, it’s likely they think other minor (but crucial) details are also not important. Proofreading. On time arrival. Follow up phone calls. Going the extra mile. Following the rules of grammar also demonstrates an application of a learned skill. It might not be a terrible idea to issue grammar tests during the application process, no matter the job. Make your employees prove they are detail oriented instead of just saying so. And just remember, if they waste precious lines on their resumes with character traits like “Detail Oriented” instead of demonstrating it in bullets and throughout the document, run away.

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