7 Tips for Writing for Work and Job Searching

7 Tips for Writing for Work and Job Searching
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Updated on 10 February 2015

by Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert, About.com

Whether you’re sending an email for work or writing a cover letter for a resumé, it’s important to remember that this is professional writing, not personal. Your writing ability reflects on you as an employee or a prospective employee.

It’s important to take the time to carefully write, edit and proofread all your correspondence before you click Send or upload a document online. It will only take a few extra minutes, but taking the time will help you make the best impression on the reader.

Review these tips to make sure that your writing will get your email opened and read, and your resumes and cover letters will be considered for interviews.

Tips for Writing for Work and Job Searching

Make it actionable. Your resume should include your accomplishments, not just a list of what you have done. Your cover letter should show the employer, at a glance, what you have to offer the company. If you’re asking for something in an email message make sure you’re clear about what you want.

Make it personal. It’s always a good idea to include a contact person in your email messages and cover letters. If you don’t have one, check the company website, LinkedIn or Google to see if you can find someone to address your letter to.

Keep it professional. You’re writing to your boss, colleagues, customers or a prospective employer. Keep your correspondence professional and skip the slang, abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons. Use paragraphs and full sentences.

Keep it concise. Most people don’t read beyond the first paragraph or so of an email message. Keep your emails short, concise and focused. Use your opening paragraph for the most important point. With cover letters, include a brief introduction, and then use your second paragraph to pitch your qualifications. Finish your letter with a closing paragraph. Two or three paragraphs are plenty.

Give it a subject line. Your email probably won’t even get opened if it doesn’t have a subject line. If the subject line is vague or sounds spammy, it won’t get opened either. Include a subject line that is relevant to what you’re asking to up your chances of getting your message read.

Add your signature. Don’t forget to include a signature with your contact information. Provide your name, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL, if you have one. It will make it easier for the reader to follow up with you.

Make sure it’s perfect. Spell check, grammar check and proofread your email or letter, and then do it again. Read it out loud or, if you have trouble catching your own mistakes, print it and proof it again. Grammarly is a terrific tool for making sure all your written correspondence is perfect, and catching mistakes that you may not have realized you made.

Alison is a job search and employment expert with many years of experience in human resources, career development and job hunting with a focus on job searching, employment issues, and career options, as well as employment trends and technologies for job seekers and employers alike.

alison doyleAlison has been the Job Search Expert for About.com since 1998. She is also the founder of CareerToolBelt.com and the creator of the Career Tool Belt series of free apps.

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