Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Don’t forget the simple things

Published:Wednesday | April 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMGlenford Smith

Are you one of those persons who regard how you dress, saying 'please' and 'thanks', your punctuation and spelling, as not important? Apparently, some people seem to think so.

I was on LinkedIn recently, when I saw an article titled, 'Before you submit your resume for that dream job, make sure you do this'. In essence, before you submit your resume, it advised you to check it for spelling errors. It gave an example of a career aspirant with an otherwise perfect resume, except for one spelling error.

I did an unscientific survey and subsequently came away feeling that this article is necessary. I heard of managers sending out messages with common letters starting sentences. Job interview clients answering an interviewer 'mum' or 'ma'am'. I learned of spelling errors bordering on the egregious.

No matter how things and time change, please beware of one thing that remains the same: human nature. The fundamentals of how we are remain the same, and the formal language we use with one another remains the same. Here, then are some unchanging principles that you are unlikely to go wrong with if you adhere to them.

At the start of any interaction, say 'good morning' or 'good afternoon'. At the end, say 'goodbye'. When someone has done you a good turn, no matter how simple, say 'thanks'. When you're cutting in on someone, say 'excuse me, please'. Sounds simple, I know. People have their resumes in their hand wondering what else they need to do. Start here.


Dress says alot


How you dress says a lot about you. You cannot be headed for a job interview and your pants is below the waist. Please forgive me, it should not be necessary. But it is. Neither is it acceptable to call the interviewer 'mum', 'ma'am' or 'darling' in the job interview. Learn each interviewer's name at the beginning of the interview.

When you're writing, bear in mind the difference between words which are homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelt differently. Examples are two, too; knew, new; flour, flower; raise, raze; compliment, complement; and air, heir. This is one area you need to get someone to read over your resume for you. If you have it wrong originally, you will be looking at the wrong thing thinking it is the correct thing.

On your resume too, look out for run-of-the-mill spelling errors and typos. Be aware that for anyone reading your work, spelling errors are an immediate red flag. These simple errors paint an unprofessional and careless portrait of you. With one of these, the interviewer can dismiss your candidacy.

We are all users of email. But we also use SMS text messages and Twitter. I have noticed a pattern in using Twitter which is also used in SMS. It is shortening the word to get the required number of characters in. In Twitter and SMS you may see: "Tell Mrs H I'll c hr tmrrw." Quite easy to understand, presumably for the person reading.

But the damage is further than seem immediate. When these become habitual, they may find themselves in your email. Quite apart from the errors of formatting, you will have to deal with spelling. I have a friend who, whether it is text messages, Twitter or email, uses standard English. I have adopted it. I think you might consider it, too.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.