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Monday, 8 February 2010

Speeling and grammer DO matter!!

Back in May 2008 our first major piece of media coverage was being on BBC Radio 4’s The Learning Curve, hosted by Libby Purves. She interviewed an employer and a student who had worked together on a project with a very successful outcome and both parties were delighted.

The employer gave the job to that particular student because he was a good communicator. He used proper grammar, correct punctuation and didn’t resort to the ubiquitous ‘text speak’ unlike some of the other applicants. The fact that he could use a capital ‘I’ in the right place got him a very lucrative job!

I remember being surprised at how important this was to the employer; after all, it was very clear to see from all the student profiles just how talented they were in their own areas. Given that this was a graphic design job, no writing involved, why was it so crucial?

The answer is that as a first impression it leaves a lot to be desired if initial communication is strewn with errors. The issue also hit a nerve with Libby Purves and she wrote about it in her Times column the following week.

It is now almost 2 years later and we have amassed considerable evidence that correct spelling, grammar and punctuation are of paramount importance to the vast majority of employers using studentgems.com. Our research has shown that over half of employers will dismiss applications for a single spelling mistake and we have compiled the following list of the top 5 most common spelling, grammatical and communication errors:

1) Using ‘text speak’ to communicate with employers, in particular the use of 'i' instead of 'I'.
2) Not checking spelling. Amongst the most common mistakes are the incorrect use of where/were, there/their and college/collage.
3) Communication is too informal with the use of 'hiya' and 'cheers'.
4) Poor grammar, punctuation and formatting. Inappropriate use of capital letters, commas and full stops together with a lack of attention to detail when setting out letters and emails.
5) Failing to respond promptly.

Maybe the danger on studentgems is to think that applying for one-off jobs and projects is somehow less important and that the usual rules don’t apply. Wrong! There is no doubt that those who remember all the old classroom lessons about correct writing are far more successful than those who respond:

“hiya im interested, cheers, kate”

Students and recent graduates who are able to bolster their CV with relevant work experience are faring so much better in the full-time job market, Surely it’s worth putting in the effort to get that experience if it makes the ultimate goal so much easier to attain?

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