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Posted May 16, 2016 by

Improving your writing and getting career prospects

Woman writing photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You may be able to walk the talk, but can you write it?

It’s no big secret that writing skills factor in greatly when it comes to getting and keeping a job, especially in such a competitive market. In a study conducted by Grammarly, out of 100 native English speakers’ LinkedIn profiles, those with fewer grammatical errors had more promotions and held higher positions in their respective companies.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder writing is a crucial communication tool for those in the workforce. In order to be fully able to convey your ideas, you need to articulate them clearly to other people. Writing often serves as the medium we relate ideas with, whether sending and responding to an email or updating our resumes for future employers.

Despite this overwhelming piece of evidence, not everyone pays attention to improving their writing. Do you want to remain stagnant in your job, or do you want to grow and get career prospects? Here are a few tips on how to become a better writer in the workforce:

1. Be a wide reader

You are what you read. There are numerous benefits linked to reading, and among the most notable would be improved writing skills.

In order to be great, you need to take inspiration from those who already are. Train your brain to tune into good writing practices by reading extensively. Others’ writing styles can certainly influence your own if you read them enough. Take time to sit back with a book, a well-written blog entry, or even browse through the news at least once a day. Aside from being able to unwind after or before the stressful day ahead, you’ll also be able to acquire new knowledge.

This tip is especially helpful if you’re in the creative industry, where creative and powerful writing is the main tool of the trade, but it can also be beneficial for simple business writing. Noting some common trends in your favorite writers like style, grammar, and tone go a long way in helping to develop your own voice. You also learn new things in the process, which you can incorporate in the other areas of your life.

2. Read your work backwards

It sounds silly at first, but it’s effective in weeding out any grammatical errors you’ve missed in your last work email. Give it a shot, and it could save you from an embarrassing typo.

Our minds are programmed to autocorrect any minor errors they encounter. Remember those online tests that ask you to spot the “the” in a sentence? You may have been one of the majority who filtered out the extra “the”, in which case this second tip can come in handy to avoid any similar grammatical slip-ups.

Start from the last word of your composition up to the first word you’ve written. Since you’re no longer operating in the context of the content, your focus stays on the form of the text. If you’re already aware of what errors you’re on the lookout for, you’ll be able to spot any repetitive words, misplaced punctuation, and faulty spacing. Note this only works on a structural level, and not if you’re looking for something else like content relevance and fact-checking.

3. Turn spell check on

This doesn’t necessarily improve your skill, but it’s an easy fix if you’re in a hurry to compose an error-free report you’ll be delivering to your bosses the next day. Ruby Hardman, an editor from ResumesPlanet shared: “We can’t always be on top of our writing game, and having technology on our side helps in taking some of the load off our shoulders.”

Turn spell check on so you can automatically spot mistakes without having to painstakingly go through your work word per word. Don’t take this to mean you can let your guard down. In fact, this should give you time to focus on other aspects of your writing. If you’re writing up a resume, take the time to organize the details of it. If you’re writing a speech for a presentation, use it to focus on your tone and fine-tuning your content to the audience you’re presenting to.

Just remember that spell check isn’t perfect, either. There will be some errors it will miss and some idioms it may misinterpret. In that case, always have a dictionary ready to counter-check the results. Sometimes you’ll still have to do the heavy lifting in refining your work, but it will all pay off with a thriving career, and improved communication between yourself and other people.

Get on it write away!

Writing is an often overlooked skill that plays a huge, though subtle, role in leveraging your career. In his article on Harvard Business Review, iFixit’s Kyle Wiens openly declared he wasn’t too keen on hiring people with poor grammar, precisely because they don’t make good employees. According to Wiens, these job seekers lack the critical thinking and orientation to detail that efficient workers and leaders possess.

In order to project the right image to your employer, make sure to be on top of your writing game immediately. Read the right things to absorb some of their influence, proofread your work extensively, and if you’re in a rush, spell check is always a safe option. Just make sure to scan and countercheck for any missed marks.

So what are you waiting for? Become a better writer, and increase your chances of moving up in your industry today.

For more tips to improve your job search and build a career, head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue is an editor and blogger from Pennsylvania. She is a traveler and a collector of some sort – coins, comic books, and stories. You can connect with her via Twitter.

Posted April 07, 2016 by

3 social media tips for job search success

Resume profile personal job career recruitment concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Social media can benefit college students and recent graduates searching for internships and entry-level jobs. In order to get the most out of their search using social sites, students and grads must first understand how to use them. We have some help for job seekers in this area.

Kristen Zierau, Director of Executive Recruiting at JMJ Phillip Executive Search, offers the following tips to help college students and recent grads obtain job search success with social media.

1. “When I speak with college career services departments, I give the advice that job applicants really need to clean up their profiles online. There are programs called scrappers that will pull college students and recent graduates’ posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and post them on their own sites. The bad thing about this is while candidates may clean up their profiles now, another site could be hanging onto their information for years. If job seekers show photos themselves doing wild or crazy things (or maybe sometimes illegal things), it’s likely someone will find this social media post. The same concept applies to political views. Students and grads can find the devoted Bernie or Trump supporter on LinkedIn pretty easily as they are often spamming LinkedIn with their viewpoints and political “expertise.” They will also find out many of those supporters haven’t landed jobs since graduating in the summer of 2015, so be careful and keep viewpoints private unless job seekers can do it under a seemingly untraceable alias.

2. When searching for jobs on social media, college students and graduates cannot treat it like a casual message to a friend. Don’t use shorthand writing. Make sure the grammar is correct and everything sounds professional. Let’s face it; college grads need to sound like they actually graduated from college!

3. Pinging hiring managers directly on LinkedIn is a good start; do this six to 12+ months before graduation. Follow them on Twitter and other social media sources, and engage with them once in a while but not too often; it can be considered annoying. If possible, send a link back to the hiring managers showing agreement with their post; that will help keep a job seeker’s name on their minds. For example, if college students and recent graduates see a post about management from them, maybe send the hiring manager a relevant link to a Harvard Business Review article on management showing they are paying attention.”

Interested in finding more tips for your social media job search? Visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Photo of Kristen Zierau

Kristen Zierau, Director of Executive Recruiting at JMJ Phillip Executive Search

A graduate of Michigan State University’s Business School, Ms. Kristen Zierau began her successful career with Target. As one of the fastest rising employees within the Target organization, she became an Executive Team Leader, making a name for herself in the hiring, training, and development of young talent in the retail sector. Prior to joining JMJ Phillip, Ms. Zierau also completed her MBA at Walsh College with honors. Ms. Zierau made a transition to the management consulting and executive search sector, which she is currently on the executive fast-track program at JMJ Phillip. Soon she will be leading Clarke-Caniff, a brand focusing on recruiting and executive search for the retail and hospitality sectors.