In our daily life very often everything is quite chaotic and sometimes we forget or just miss the smallest, but quite important, thing - punctuation.
Please find 5 minutes and check our latest little article regarding this topic.
CVs (or resumes) do not have to be perfect, but they should be free of glaring mistakes such as typos, misused punctuation and poor grammar. Pedants like me will notice these and, speaking for myself, they affect the initial impression – which for a hiring manager is vital.
Attention to accuracy and good use of language is also important in reports and presentations. You do not want the impact of all your hard work to be reduced by simple irritating errors in the text.
Messages (SMS, WhatsApp etc) are often thought to be informal and therefore we can be forgiven for errors, but I would still argue that errors and, in particular, incorrect substitutions made by “autocorrecting software” detract from the points intended. One of my most memorable inadvertent messages was to a builder: “have you finished your lady parts” – rather than “last parts” as intended. This caused much amusement however these errors could cause problems or lose you a deal! Golden rule here: read your message before sending.
Acronyms (or abbreviations) can be helpful (if widely recognised) however they can mean different things to different audiences and thus can be dangerous. SME, for example, mean a “Subject Matter Expert” or “Small or Medium Enterprise”. They are most suited to (short) messages although they can work in longer text if a glossary of some kind is included.
Generally, do not be tempted to use uppercase (for whole words) except for acronyms as they tend to indicate emphasis or even strong emotions. Research also shows that they also generally take longer to read. Good practice is to use an appropriate mix of upper and lower case lettering.
Apostrophes are used in the English language to indicate the possessive case ("Neil's Pub") or a contraction ("I'm here."). Many shop signs and even marketing materials can be found with apostrophes used in the wrong way or even missing. However, some strong brands, e.g. Harrods, Barclays and Waterstones, have escaped criticism and have made us somewhat immune to misuse of this kind.
Unwieldy sentences of 30+ words are generally frowned upon, especially if they contain few or no punctuation. A good rule is here: less is more, but not too short as that becomes too chatty.
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