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Grammar Matters

Before I go into my spiel, let’s define…

What is Grammar?

Not to be confused with spellcheck, grammar is the system of language. It is an essential set of rules that governs the way how we speak and write.

Why is it important?

Grammar is important because it defines us. It acts as our first impression on paper and in person. Expressing bad grammar can minimize your future career opportunities and halt your future.

Unfortunately, social media has seriously warped our brains. Since we have grown accustomed to Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, Twittering, etc. day in and day out, some of us have forgotten the fundamental rules of grammar. We have neglected subject-verb agreements, the use of singular vs plural verbs, possession rules, etc. Our attention span has diminished, we no longer string together a complete sentence, instead, we speak, type and write using shortcuts and acronyms. Below, Journalist, Dave Barry defines the importance of grammar:

"The truth is that grammar is not the most important thing in the world. The Super Bowl is the most important thing in the world. But grammar is still important. For example, suppose you are being interviewed for a job as an airline pilot, and your prospective employer asks you if you have any experience, and you answer: 'Well, I ain't never flied no actual airplanes or nothing, but I got several pilot-style hats and several friends who I like to talk about airplanes with.' "If you answer this way, the prospective employer will immediately realize that you have ended your sentence with a preposition."

Bad Grammar - Thumbs Down

When was the last time that you have proofread your resume or cover letter? Are you sure that you have listed all of your past tasks and assignments in past tense? Are you using the right action verbs to define what you have done or what your responsibilities are in your current position? These rules are very important because applicant tracking software is responsible for reading your resume and is geared to discard resumes with spelling or grammatical errors. The example below was taken from an applicant's resume. This particular task was listed under a position that she held two years ago. Which would be the correct way to write this past assignment?

Managing spreadsheets for a purchasing departments


Managed spreadsheets for purchasing department

If you chose the second option, then you are correct. The job applicant did not make the word "Manage" past tense, in which it should be "Managed, remove the “a” before purchasing and she mistakenly added an “s” to the word “departments” to make it plural instead of singular to reflect one department.

Well, let’s say that your resume is great! It passed the test but now…here comes the in-person interview. How is your speech and vocabulary? If you are a little wary or unsure about this process, research general interview questions and responses and practice with someone. Continuously read books, newspapers, articles, etc. to help improve your grammar and extend your vocabulary because bad grammar can prevent you from moving forward in the selection process. Some of the immediate biases that employers will make of those who use bad grammar are:

  • They have limited or no education

  • They are willing to take a lower paying job

  • They cannot be trusted to proofread documents or give accurate information

  • They will not be the right fit for our organization

Avoid the embarrassment…download one of these apps to check your content before you hit the send button and practice:


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