Recently, the Harvard Business Review ran a blog post from an editor that said he won’t hire people who use poor grammar.
I almost stood up and applauded.
As a former journalist and life-long writer, I have always had a romance with the written word. Writing is not a chore. It is not simply a means to an end. It is a labor of love in which – if I’m successful – craft and creativity combine to produce something brilliant, beautiful.
But that’s me.
Not everyone views writing the same way.
I accept this reality. I may not like it, but I accept it. That said, I believe (just as author Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixIt, believes) that a person’s writing tells me a lot about how successful he or she may be as an employee.
Not that anyone is perfect. My first rule of writing is that everyone needs an editor. Everyone. There is no exception to this rule. Editors help catch mistakes and can provide a critical and unbiased eye. Writers, after all, have a tendency to fall in love with their own words. Sometimes, we need someone to tell us that what we’ve written doesn’t make sense.
One of my colleagues once told me that she didn’t think her resume would pass my critical eye. Knowing this person, it absolutely would, but there are a lot of resumes that have not. Those resumes are trashed without an interview. Why? Because prospective employees have the opportunity to solicit assistance from an editor before they even apply for a job opening. If you can’t get it right when you have time, how am I to believe you can get it right when a deadline is looming?
I don’t expect everyone to be a perfect writer or to love writing in the same way I do. But I do expect them to understand the importance of getting the details right. As Wiens points out in his post, “Your words are all you have.” I couldn’t agree more, but I would say, “Your words are all you have, so use them wisely.”
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