Cover letters, resumes, proposals, online job applications—these are some of the most significant pieces you will write. They must engage readers and communicate persuasively, especially for competitive positions. Even if you are modest and shy, these pieces must sell you. Here are 12 tips to apply in high-stakes situations.   1....
On Friday I donated blood at a popup blood center. In the process I had to share information—about my sex partners, pregnancies, travel history, and illnesses. I had to repeatedly give my full name and birthdate. A personal exchange? Nope. It was completely impersonal. I felt like a commodity. No...
A friend had just finished a proposal she would be presenting to a new client the next morning. After printing six copies for the people who would be at the meeting, she noticed that she had made an error in the client’s name at the top of page 1....
Yesterday I posted advice on giving constructive feedback in writing. That advice took the form of a list of Don'ts. Why not test yourself today on tips for giving constructive feedback? The list of 20 Don'ts below contains some fake Don’ts that should actually be Dos. Can you identify...
In my survey of 686 people working in the United States, 77 percent indicated that they have felt extremely hurt when receiving negative written feedback on the job. That hurt shouldn’t be happening. Feedback should be constructive—not destructive. To give feedback that helps rather than hurts, avoid these Don’ts. 1....
A reader named Kris sent this question: "I notice that people are no longer writing or speaking pronouns at the beginning of sentences. Is this acceptable now? I was taught that an implicit 'You' did not need to be written/spoken, but I’m noticing 'I' and 'We' not spoken or...
UPDATE: Yesterday I shared an example of a time that I did not open an untitled attachment when I should have. Since then several readers have commented strongly that one should NEVER open untitled attachments. I stand corrected. Please read the original post (it’s brief)—and their important comments. Here's the...
I had an experience recently where an individual sent me an email reply with no message--just an attachment. I felt let down, disappointed that my gracious communication had prompted what appeared to be a hasty, minimal reply. I wonder: Am I overreacting? Please share your opinion in the comments. Here's...
With business communication evolving into shorter, quicker messages, people wonder about long-standing formalities like complimentary closes (for example, Sincerely and Best wishes). Do we still use them? If so, which ones belong where? Here are answers to frequently asked questions about complimentary closes for letters, notes, emails, and texts.    Question:...
My husband is on a mailing list for information about upcoming stamp shows. This week he got an email announcement and saw his email address in a clump of at least a hundred others. All were there in a long list, a gold mine for people wanting to sell...