Thursday, September 8, 2011
Do you think today’s PR grads are lacking writing skills? Part One
To be honest, we asked this question to discuss an issue we had already formed an opinion on: that writing skills are not what they should be and that they used to be better.
Sandy Charet, our president, has been observing the writing skills of job applicants for more than 20 years and says they are on the decline.
“I read cover letters and resumés from recent graduates all the time and they’re not as good as they were. Vocabularies have gotten smaller and spelling errors like ‘definately’ abound,” Charet said. “I don’t think recent grads work at writing something that actually speaks to you. They don’t try to connect and engage with the written word.”
But we were curious about the specific experiences of our colleagues and whether or not they experienced the same phenomenon.
I could talk about the content of the responses we got, which was often very insightful, but I’m not going to get into that right now.
Instead, I’m going to talk about the typos and errors within the responses. These were informal comments on LinkedIn, a professional social media site, but a social media site nonetheless, which may act as evidence to the fact that the technical evolution has taken its toll on the written word.
Respondents probably saw the question posted in the discussion boards, skimmed some of the remaining text and the other responses and then typed out a quick response before they returned to the thousands of other things vying for their attention on a daily basis.
While I am very grateful for the participation, because this was a discussion on writing skills, I can’t overlook the fact that there were some typos and errors in these responses.
Even though social media is designed to be quick and dirty, proofreading any and all communication is something everyone should do.
That especially applies to emails, resumés and cover letters. A fresh set of eyes would actually be better for resumés and cover letters.
It seems that most college graduates know the basics of writing. But it’s really about whether or not people have the discipline to consistently apply what they know.
Posted by Britt Perkins at 9/08/2011