by Carl Mueller
Your communication skills are one of the most important attributes
that are on trial every time you apply for a job.
Whether it’s written or verbal communication, you need to get
your point across clearly, concisely and in a manner that is appropriate
for the audience.
Let me highlight the biggest mistakes I’ve seen job searchers
make with regards to their ability to communicate.
Written Communication Skills
A big turnoff is having to read written work – emails, cover
letters, resumes for example – that are poorly written, generic
and full of various errors. When I see that a person has subpar
written communication skills, I immediately become worried about
my chances of helping them with their job search because it is a
skill that is very noticeable to hiring managers very quickly.
It should go without saying that a resume and cover letter should
have no spelling or grammatical errors whatsoever but what about
With emails dominating much of the written work that people do
these days, it is important to understand how to effectively write
When it comes to emails that you send related to your job
search, ensure you get your message across as briefly as possible
while still maintaining a professional tone.
Before you send an email always ensure there are no typos, run-on
sentences and other grammatical errors that make your correspondence
look unprofessional. Always use a subject line that indicates the
specific purpose of the email.
If you are applying for a job and
have already included a cover letter and resume, you don’t need
to rewrite your cover letter again in the body of the email. Simply
state the reason for the email and refer to the attached cover letter
Always treat your business emails as professional business correspondence
that is just as important as your cover letter and resume.
Verbal Communication Skills
The most effective verbal communicators are those who can get
their point across professionally, succinctly, and clearly. When
I say ”clearly” I am referring both to speaking clearly and getting
your message across clearly.
When speaking verbally, some people speak quickly when nervous
so try to pay attention to ensure you speak slowly to avoid being
unintelligible. Also ensure you don’t ramble on. Answer questions
as briefly and succinctly as possible. Practice does make perfect.
Also, always ensure you actually get your message across clearly.
The best way to ensure this happens is to plan ahead. Don’t try
to “wing it” when doing interviews, presentations or other forms
of public speaking. Careful preparation will help you ensure you
know what you’re talking about and will make you more likely to
be able to speak comfortably without trying to memorize everything.
How Can You Improve Your Communication Skills?
Look for opportunities to communicate verbally and in written
form that will help you improve your business communication skills.
Some people can improve their communication skills with practice.
Certainly, I’ve found that I’ve gotten better at public speaking
as I’ve gotten older and I quite like doing it now.
In cases where practice isn’t making perfect, consider looking
for help. Toastmasters organizations can help you improve your public
speaking and professional writing courses can really help to improve
your ability to write effectively.
Suggested Further Reading