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Your grammar, your job (or not)

strickland MICHAEL


“If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me.” Kyle Wiens in the Harvard Business Review.

While Idaho’s job market is slowly improving, the buzz around the Treasure Valley is still filled with stories of unemployment and underemployment. A business grammar course in the College of Western Idaho’s Business Partnerships /Workforce Development program suggests a way you can get an edge.

“Clear communication is the foundation for success in the business world, and grammar mistakes create barriers to this communication,” reads the introduction to the CWI student manual for the training. The consensus among teachers, scholars and grammarians is that clarity and correctness have taken a nosedive in the “information age.”

Employers often peruse Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages of job applicants that are filled with spelling mistakes, poor grammar, and textspeak. This is one of the quickest ways for a candidate to seal their own job rejection. According to Time, out of the 70 percent of hiring managers who utilize social media profiles to gather more information regarding an applicant — one-third have declined on candidates due to “poor communication skills.”

“The employer is more apt to question your professionalism if you show a pattern of misspelled words… or your commentary seems rash, uninformed or non-cohesive,” said Jennifer Grasz, a CareerBuilder spokeswoman.

According to John Stodder in the Idaho Business Review, CEOs have reported that “people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing.”

“If they can’t punctuate, if they can’t make a coherent sentence, then they are not, in my opinion, what we’re looking for,” says Thomas Anderson, director of HR at the Houston Community College System. “If they don’t punctuate properly, you get a sense that’s the way they probably write all the time.”

Virtual yelling is another eye sore, or more succinctly, an ear sore. According to Anderson, skipping over caps lock is social media etiquette 101, so if an applicant doesn’t seem to realize this, HR managers will assume he or she lacks “serious knowledge” in basic social skills.
Abbreviations can also cause you trouble. According to Time, textspeak can be “a turn-off for hiring managers if your conversations on social networks are riddled with this kind of short hand.”

You can beat the trend. The Economic Times reported that “many employers are likely to hire the candidate if they find on social media platform that the individual’s background supported their professional qualifications, their personality was clearly a good fit within the company culture.” had great communication skills, is creative and has wide range of interests, among others.”

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