by Sellick Partnership | 09 July 2014
Written communication is a key part of the business world with it often being the first point of contact that we have with outside organisations - first impressions are essential in forming an understanding of someone, and poor writing skills always give a poor first impression.
We all use the written word considerably during our working day whether this be by email, report, presentation, letter, CV, blog or even social media status.
Here are my top tips for getting your written communication right first time:
- Think about your audience - always use appropriate and professional language
- Express yourself eloquently; shorter sentences can make for clearer reading
- Be consistent in your layout and punctuation format
- Think about the use of 'etc.' - will the reader understand what you mean by this, or will it seem like you have nothing to expand with?
- Is your spelling and grammar correct? For example, have you used the correct were or where, their or there, principal or principle? There are many words that can cause confusion for people so if you don't know which word is the correct one, check with someone - or even better, find a way that works for you in order for you to remember it!
- Avoid using industry specific jargon - this will ensure that the reader will have a better understanding of what you are saying and ensure they don't feel sidelined in any way
- If you are using a capital letter apart from the start of a sentence, make sure you are using this in the right context; is it appropriate for the word to start with a capital? Don't write sentences in capitals as this gives the impression of being shouted at
- Misuse of the apostrophe is common so take time to get this right - an apostrophe is used to indicate a missing letter or to indicate possession; there is no apostrophe in the plurals of groups of letters and numbers. I very often see 'CV's' instead of 'CVs' and 'GCSE's' instead of 'GCSEs'
- If you use an abbreviation, can you be sure that the reader will know what the abbreviation is short for? For less common abbreviations it is better to put the words in full initially with the abbreviation in brackets after the word and you can then use the abbreviation later in the document if needed i.e. International Festival for Business (IFB)
- Have you covered all the essential points that you wanted to get across? If not, it's likely you've missed the most important information...
- Don't rush what you're writing - take your time as it's better to take a bit longer to get it right first time
- Finally, always ensure you read your document thoroughly before you send it!
Looking for some additional help with your CV or current job search? Contact me on 0151 2241480 for an initial discussion, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org - I look forward to hearing from you.