Avoiding grammatical howlers in a job application

Imagine the scenario - you’ve spent years building your professional skillset and experience only to fluff it up over a rushed, badly spelt job application. Can you imagine how frustrated you’d be?

In all honesty, you’d be surprised by how many poorly written job applications any recruitment company receives on a weekly basis, and no matter what technological advances we make as a species when it comes to spell-checking software, this trend of bad English within a job application shows no sign of slowly down.

To help counter this, we’ve put together a few alternative tips to help you avoid grammatical howlers that would cost you new career opportunities.

Utilise abbreviations

Respect the intelligence of the people reading your job application, by using abbreviations where appropriate. I.e, any recruiter knows what a ‘BA Hons’ – rendering the phrase ‘A Bachelor of the Arts’ pretty unnecessary.

In some cases you can use abbreviations to drastically cut down the word count of your application. If you were previously employed by the RSPCA, and find yourself referring back to the name of the organisation, you could refer to it as ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)’ in its first instance and from there on only to refer to the organisation as the ‘RSPCA’.

Any deviation from this will result in a laborious read from a recruiters perspective.

Maintain the correct perspective

There’s no two-ways about it, when writing a job application you should always write from the first person perspective. Think about it – an employer wants to read about you self-reflecting on why you think you are suitable for the job, not from another point of view. If you compromise this, then you risk compromising your application – don’t even be tempted to write ‘we’ in any shape or form within your job application, even when discussing your awesome team-working skills.

Stay away from spell-checkers

Despite their name, spell-checkers are notoriously unreliable when it comes to producing a grammatically sound job application, and in some cases, can have a reverse effect - especially if you’re applying for jobs in England, but have an American spell-checker.

Remember, you have it within yourself to write a well-spelt job application with correct punctuation and grammar.

What happened before spell-checkers? People used their working knowledge of the English language to write, instead of relying on computers.

Ask a favour from a family member

Get a family member to look over your job application, especially one who you know is meticulous when it comes to proper English, and who will be comfortable scrutinising your efforts so far.

If you look at the same document over and over for too long, it’s likely that you will become immune to its flaws, and you may not see obvious grammatical errors. Bringing another person into the fold will help you realise mistakes that your weary eyes may have missed.

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