Your Career and You: "Write Right. Right?"



Had a heart-stopping email chat with a student earlier this week. I won’t throw this individual totally under the bus, but…

…An “honors student” at a local college. (I teach at a couple…Curry College and Regis College; have taught at several others; stay in touch with former and current students from all.)

…A self-identified “scholar,” implying a high level of already-demonstrated excellence in academic studies and desire to do even better.

This particular student wanted to start applying for public relations intern-ships and figured I would be a good person to turn to for advice…and editing assistance.

I’m okay about helping you find the occasional errant comma or misplaced verb phrase. We all miss things from time to time.

But GIANT typos…that’s a whole ’nother issue.

Especially when you’re looking for something in the communication field…my turf.

What set me off on this?

In my first quick glance at the student’s resume, I found four major errors.

Not one…FOUR. HUGE. WRONG. GLARINGLY INCORRECT. ERRORS.

What really set me off?!?

The student’s response when I pointed them out.

And I quote…

“Oh, haha. Thanks. I’ve always had trouble with spelling.”

Nothing in there about “OMG, I am so sorry. I should have caught those mistakes and fixed them before sending my resume to you. It won’t happen again.”

Nope.

“Oh, haha. Thanks. I’ve always had trouble with spelling.”

As I ask so often in my posts, “Where’s the disconnect? What is it that you don’t understand about the need for attention to detail and a sincere desire to do your best?”

Would-be bus drivers are expected to exhibit a certain level of proficiency if they wish to secure permanent employment.

Carpenters have to be able to hammer a nail into a piece of wood without (a) missing the nail and damaging the wood or (b) bending the nail.

Communication professionals are expected…at the very minimum…to be able to write coherent sentences and spell words correctly.

This obsession with accurate and error-free writing should live deep inside your soul. To get all CSI-y on you, it should be in your DNA.

It should torment you every time you put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. Check. Double-check. And then…as a back-up…run spellcheck…just in case!

As much as I inherently distrust spellcheck programs, regardless of the creator, they do offer some “red-flag” services to draw attention to potential problems. Among these is the seemingly ever-present red underlining that indicates either a misspelled word or a nonexistent word. Another is the green underlining that indicates a possible incomplete or grammatically incorrect sentence. I tend to get a lot of both because of the way I write.

In either case, when you see one of these warning signs, check it out!! You might be correct in your intended use of a word or structure of a sentence, but at least check it out to be sure you wrote what you intended to write.

And that, my ever-attentive friends, is my diatribe for today. I invite you, when you think you see a boo-boo in my own writing, to call me out on it. Lord knows, I’m not perfect (except in my own fuzzy mind!)…and I will know you actually read my post!

Sneaky, no?!? J

“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler, Attributed
[Also attributed, in a variant form, to sports columnist Red (Walter Wellesley) Smith]

Advertisements

About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 10 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in Curry College, internships, job hunting, job search, Regis College, Undergraduate Communication. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Your Career and You: "Write Right. Right?"

  1. Thanks, Carol! Sadly, as I re-read my post, I found an error…that has now been repaired!Cheers! 🙂

    Like

  2. Amen and amen. Well-stated, Kirk. Every PR student should get a Strunk & White-esque book upon entry and an AP Style Guidebook upon graduation, dontcha think?

    Like

  3. Thanks, Julie. I do have one student who now has the AP Style Guide app on her phone and uses it regularly…baby steps!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s