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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 March 28, 2016 by

11 quick LinkedIn tips

Linkedin website on a computer screen courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Ingvar Bjork/Shutterstock.com

Did you know 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to look for candidates? This means companies can find job seekers’ profiles and invite them for job interviews. For this to happen, though, job seekers need to make their profiles look appropriate. Adding their pictures and job titles is not enough anymore, as their LinkedIn profiles can be more important than their resumes. If job seekers want recruiters to visit their pages often and offer them great positions, here are some things they should consider.

1. Recommendations

Employers tend to pay a lot of attention not only to job seekers’ professional skills, but also to their corporate backgrounds. If applicants have proven to be excellent team workers at their previous jobs, they should seek recommendations from former bosses or colleagues. Ask some of them to write a couple of nice recommendations. Don’t exaggerate here, though. If applicants have had five jobs so far but have 15 recommendations, it might seem weird.

2. Write a longer headline

If you already have a job, but are open to new offerings, don’t just mention the company and your position there; it might be not enough to see what you do. Instead of writing, for example, “PR Manager at Example Company,” write “PR manager at Example Company: Helping big and small companies.”

3. Have enough connections

Having 50 connections on LinkedIn makes job seekers seem unfriendly, unprofessional, and unmotivated. Having 3000 contacts makes them look like they add everyone to their list of connections, and they don’t even care who’s there. Try to have a moderate number of connections, and you will be visible enough to make the network help your professional growth. Try to find all of your friends, former classmates, and colleagues if you’ve already worked somewhere.

4. Write only true information

We don’t want to lecture job seekers, but lying is unacceptable in the professional world. It concerns their LinkedIn profiles, too, particularly education and previous jobs. It is not only that recruiters can check everything, but it is also about ethics. Earning trust is an important step to professional success.

5. Be brief

No one likes to read lots of text, especially if it is not formatted correctly. Even if job seekers had tons of experience and they want to talk about it, they should organize it. Write a job title and describe your responsibilities point by point. Use headlines and short sentences; they are easier to comprehend.

6. Students can mention all the jobs they’ve had

Surely, when you are a big boss with 10 jobs behind, you can skip some of the gigs you’ve had such as pizza delivery or tutoring in college. However, college students or recent graduates might want to add at least some things to their work experience. Besides, most students do something during their college years. If they managed to study and freelance at the same time, they should mentions that. If students helped their professors grade papers, they can write about that too. Don’t leave a page blank; add at least something.

7. Choose the right picture for your profile

Don’t pick an Instagram-style photo or a cute picture with your pets; post casual photos on Facebook or elsewhere. Low-quality pictures are also not the best choice. Think of how you want potential employers to see you. The photo should be a recent, high-quality photograph where one can clearly see your face. You can also add a background picture; the best choice would be either a picture from some conference you participated in or some nature pic.

8. Write about your main skills, not all of them

We all know you are a talented person. However, if you are trying for an accountant job, recruiters probably don’t need to know you are a good cook. At the top of your LinkedIn page, your potential employer or recruiters need to see those skills suitable for them. Also, don’t mention the skills you don’t want to use in your next job. If you are tired of your current work where you need to design, for example, exclude this skill from your profile.

9. Add a decent email address

If your personal email address is dirtykitten@email.com or something like that, you probably want to get a new one. You must have had a laugh creating it, but now it is time to be more professional and to use your own name for your email address.

10. Don’t mention your age

Although all the companies say age discrimination doesn’t exist, that is not true. They always consider age when hiring. So, try not to mention it.

11. Make sure all is correct

Making mistakes in a LinkedIn profile is a no-no. Pay attention not only to grammar and spelling, but to style and formatting. Everything should be clear and understandable. Style should be formal and professional.

Try to look at your text as an objective reader, or better yet, show it to someone. Ask a friend, colleague, or professor to read it and correct the mistakes you might have missed.

A LinkedIn profile is much more important now than it was a couple of years ago. More and more professionals, companies, and headhunters create accounts and use them actively every day. Job seekers probably want to look equally experienced and professional on their pages, so spend enough time creating them and don’t be lazy.

Looking for more LinkedIn tips for your job search? Turn to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Photo of William Sarto

William Sarto, guest writer

William Sarto is a marketer and content strategist working at the freelance writing board – gohunters.com. He shares his knowledge and experience in his articles based on current marketing trends and also provides actionable tips for students willing to build successful business careers. He is passionate about all new techniques and methods appearing in digital marketing. Working in one of the most fast changing industries requires many skills from young specialists, so if you have any questions feel free to contact Will @ twitter, Google+

Posted February 29, 2016 by

10 reasons to reject job offers

Woman tears agreement documents before an agent who wants to get a signature courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Bacho/Shutterstock.com

Deciding whether or not to accept job offers could be challenging for college students and recent graduates. When considering a position, there are certain factors that might lead students and grads to turn it down. Here are 10 good reasons to reject job offers.

1. Job seekers should reject job offers if they don’t line-up with their competencies, interests, and values. College students and recent graduates should ask themselves whether they’re good at what they’ll be expected to do if hired, if the work will excite them, and if the work is consistent with their morals. If not, pass on the offer. A job needs to be more than a paycheck.

2. The job doesn’t offer career advancement. Can employees grow within the company? If job offers do not mention anything about advancement, workers will be stuck in a job without the chance for a potential career.

3. Opportunities are sacrificed. Depending on the job, college students and recent graduates may or may not meet a people who have the right contacts. Without networking opportunities, they might miss out on their dream jobs.

4. Reputation is damaged professionally. There is no shame in working somewhere to make ends meet, even if it’s not the job you want. However, a bad work experience can damage one’s reputation with recruiters and hiring managers. Students and grads should find jobs highlighting their skills en route to better career opportunities.

5. The job affects your spirit negatively. College students and graduates need to think about how they would feel in the job. If it does not satisfy them for whatever reason, they will be unhappy and won’t perform well. This creates a negative spirit in people and in the workplace.

Balancing work and life, and busy businessman in concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock.com

6. Hurts work/life balance. Work is important, but family is more important. If a new job will take too much time away from your loved ones, consider other options offering more flexibility for work/life balance.

7. Salary falls short. Students and grads should do their homework on how much money a job pays, and then compare the salary to the job offer. If the money isn’t what they’re quite hoping for and they believe they can get more, they shouldn’t accept the offer.

8. Money overtakes dreams. In contrast to the previous reason, the pay can be so good and becomes a bigger priority than pursuing your dreams. If students and graduates are tempted by money more than their dreams, they may regret accepting a new job later in life and wonder what could have been.

9. The hiring process isn’t structured. College students and recent grads should consider how they’re treated during the hiring process. Anything that seems questionable is a red flag and is not worth their time.

10. Bad timing. Even when great job offers come along, sometimes the timing isn’t right. While rejecting offers may seem crazy, don’t beat yourself up. A better offer could be waiting down the road.

Need more tips related to your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and motivation.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to great careers.

Posted November 18, 2015 by

Big data facing big shortage of skilled workers

Have you heard the phrase do the math? That’s what North American employers are looking for; people to do the math in the field of big data. A shortage of skilled workers in the field presents job opportunities in mathematics, one of the STEM fields. (more…)

Posted September 21, 2015 by

5 Tips for Including LGBT Workers/Candidates

Employers who value their employees strive to make them comfortable in the workplace. Achieving this goal requires sensitivity in today’s diverse workforce. Employers can attract and retain LGBT job candidates and employees by following five tips that show inclusiveness.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. In today’s article, Dr. Angelique Harris of Marquette University shares tips on including LGBT workers and candidates. (more…)

Posted August 28, 2015 by

Why Working from Home is Good for Employees and Employers

Adaptability and flexibility are two primary requirements for the majority of roles today. The ability to change job location and hours of work can be a condition of employment in most contracts. In recent years, many corporations have started to implement telecommuting strategies, whereby employees work from home or in remote locations. Incredibly, 36% of workers would choose the option of working from home ahead of a pay rise, while 46% of companies that have introduced telework state that it has reduced attrition. (more…)

Posted July 16, 2015 by

The Millennial Makeover Part 4: What Attracts Them to Your Company

Millennial Employees words on a worker or staff member on an organizational chart to illustrate finding and hiring young people

Millennial Employees words on a worker or staff member on an organizational chart to illustrate finding and hiring young people. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When it comes to today’s workforce, there is no doubt that millennials are creating an atmosphere of change in the workplace.  So, who are millennials?  This group was born between 1980 and the year 2000, and reflect a generation with their own career goals, attitudes, and oh yes, their understanding of how to use technology.  For employers to take their companies to the next level, they will need to find ways to recruit and retain millennials, also known as Generation Y. (more…)

Posted July 09, 2015 by

The Millennial Makeover Part 3: What Employers Should Know About These Modern Workers

Millennials word cloud

Millennials word cloud. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When it comes to today’s workforce, there is no doubt that millennials are creating an atmosphere of change in the workplace.  So, who are millennials?  This group was born between 1980 and the year 2000, and reflect a generation with their own career goals, attitudes, and oh yes, their understanding of how to use technology.  For employers to take their companies to the next level, they will need to find ways to recruit and retain millennials, also known as Generation Y. (more…)

Posted January 26, 2015 by

Developmental and Leadership Education Affecting Healthcare Quality

Healthcare

Healthcare. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Development and leadership education affecting healthcare quality has been highlighted as the long term solution to the healthcare problems that affect the healthcare industry both at the state level as well as the national level.

It is paramount to bring psychology into the healthcare industry. Psychology is vital in the evolving healthcare system. Psychologists are in a pole position as providers of healthcare to people with mental illnesses and other disorders such as chronic physical conditions and substance use disorders. For psychologists to provide effective services, they should be incorporated into organizational development and healthcare leadership by including them on commissions, advisory panels, coalitions and other assorted committees. They should be given appointments where their views on proper health care management can be heard at the state level. (more…)

Posted December 10, 2014 by

Advice for Graduates Seeking Opportunities Overseas

Ready to success. Four college graduates standing in a row and smiling

Ready for success. Four college graduates standing in a row and smiling. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Finishing university sends people in a variety of different directions. Some people miss the academic setting they are leaving, but others yearn to begin their working lives. Fortunately, options for both types of people have increased dramatically as the world has become more connected. For some students, pursuing work or additional training abroad can lead to exciting opportunities that they might not have access to in their home countries. Before jumping on a plane, though, graduates should consider a few important issues. (more…)