“A parent called the office today,” an older friend and mentor recently said to me. “She wanted to know if linens were provided in the dorms. Oh, and she was also pretending to be her child on the phone.”
Sigh. I have such a love/hate relationship with technology. On one hand I have the world at my fingertips, but when I hear stories like this I want to throw it all out the window and catch up with my old friends, pen and paper. Have we reached a new communication low?
I’d like to think not. This may be an extreme case, but stories like this are becoming more and more common. The lack of proper communication is expanding with out dependence on technology especially, I find, when it comes to the communicating via text. (As in writing, not text messages!)
As any GenYer, I’m a technology junkie. I love the ease of emailing anyone at anytime anywhere or tweeting the hottest news story. And sending resumes online is great! But I haven’t forgotten the power and importance of good writing, which is why I’m dedicating today’s post to the perks of good communication.
Firstly, it’s a powerful branding tool. I have a feeling the inquiring mother didn’t make the best first impression for her child. Communication – writing specifically in most cases – is the first thing an employer notices in a candidate. If you can’t sell yourself on paper through your resume and cover letter you may miss opportunities to wow employers in the interview room.
That said, your writing doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be riddled with witty wordplay or convey astounding creativity. It only has to be well constructed and, perhaps most importantly, clear and concise. If your cover letter is one in a sea of cover letters, you want to get to the point quickly and make your message understandable. On average, an employer reads (or skims) a cover letter in 30 seconds. Computers weed out resumes that lack fundamental key words. A carefully constructed cover letter will leave you looking aware of yourself and aware of the position you are applying for.
Send a thank-you note and you’re really ahead of the game.
And we can’t forget about workplace communication off the written page as well – emails, phone calls, meetings, memos. I frequently find my professors take time to review the proper format for a formal email, and I think … Really? Is it such a common occurrence that a reminder is necessary? Consider emails as formal as a written letter. Professionals advise people to take care in using correct grammar and spelling improve internet communication even when addressing the closest of friends. This goes beyond email to social media and texts as well! Wouldn’t want to omg lol at your boss.
It really is a shame that the nervous student wasn’t confident to inquire on her own. Confidence and ability to communicate and connect well with others develops over time. It takes practice. To make it someone else’s responsibility will only hurt you in the long run.
So even if you don’t think you will use writing past the interview process, you may want to think again. Business people have said that no matter what position they’ve held, writing skills matter.
What do you think people can do to improve their communication during the job hunt or in the workforce?