Sometimes we can never know the real reason for rejection. Was it something I said? Was it something I writ?
Have you ever received a rejection letter? Usually they go something like; thank you for the resume and covering letter. Your application was not successful and here is the reason – while you presented very well in person, your English writing skills let you down. Unfortunately, rejection letters do not usually state things so bluntly so you are left wondering.
English is a very complex and forgiving spoken language, but it is a demanding and unforgiving language in its written form. When people are talking, there is usually enough contextual and other non-verbal information to work out the meaning. So, if the words are spoken in the wrong order, or wrong words or grammar used, the listener can usually work out what the speaker really means. The character of the individual and the context of a conversation provide a huge amount of non-verbal clues to what is being communicated. Our spoken language is very tolerant.
However, readers of written English, both online and off line, form very quick judgments about the written English used in critical documents. There is little room for the character and context and, unless there are coffee stains, crumpled paper, hideous fonts, or other evidence for glaring ineptitude, there are very few non-verbal clues. It all comes down to the writing. Written English therefore is notoriously intolerant. In fact, in the search for possible clues about the writer, small blemishes become disproportionately magnified and help the reader work up a case against acceptance of the writer’s argument.
This means, in a highly competitive environment, our life-changing written documents, like your covering letter and resume, business letters, loan and tenancy applications, proposals, assignments, professional documents, term papers, business emails and other forms of written communication, can be judged very harshly.
English as one’s native language does not guarantee a high standard in either the written or spoken form. Skill in English is not a natural attribute, it has to be worked and developed. In general, the standard of both spoken and written English is going down.
If your resume or business writing does let you down, you can do something. For then next six months, write 500 words each and every day and keep the best. You will know which example to keep because you will find days where you go into ‘flow’ as you write.
Those pieces show the changes that your writing is going through. Those days are gems. Toward the end of that period, orientate your personal writing style toward a business target audience.
Don’t cheat by getting someone to write for you. The real truth would become evident with a couple of days of joining with a company. You can use writing enhancement software like WhiteSmoke. It will expand your mental horizons and accelerate your learning curve. However, use enhancement software sparingly; say once or twice a week just to inspire and lift the standard. This is about personally doing the hard yards. You need to do the hard work required to develop your mental skills in word selection, context, and target audience writing. Once experienced, these skills never leave you so the destination is worth the journey.
PS: The word writ in the summary was a very deliberate typo. What immediate impressions did it make? Are there any glaring errors in your resume or other critical documents?