Re: OT - Errors on cover letters

Subject: Re: OT - Errors on cover letters
From: "Michael L. Wyland" <michael -at- sumptionandwyland -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2007 13:17:01 -0600

At 12:54 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:
>I received a resume and cover letter (unsolicited) from a young woman
>requesting a job in wildlife rehabilitation. (I do the emails for the
>humane society.) One of her many attributes is being a skilled "typer."
>She is a high school graduate who has managed a phone store for more than
>three years, and there were dozens of grammatical, punctuation, and
>spelling errors in her resume and the cover letter. We are failing our


Fully one-third of freshmen entering South Dakota's public
universities are required to take remedial math and English courses
to prepare them for postsecondary-level work.

It's easy to blame schools, educators (used to be they were teachers,
but that's another rant <g>), parents, TV, computers, text-messaging
on phones, etc. There's a lot of blame to go around.

How do we learn to use language well? Through reading and
writing. When did most of us last write a letter? If it has been
that long for us, imagine how long it's been, if ever, for most young
people. And reading? How many people refer to "books" when they
mean gossip magazines? In how many homes today do you find real
reading material? Bookshelves full of books - actually read - as
opposed to knick-knacks and collectibles?

I'm depressed when I see poor examples of writing from people who
should know better. One of the most egregious examples came from a
somewhat unlikely source -- a young attorney in private practice in
the 1980s. Now I allow myself to be favorably impressed when I read
coherently-written pieces from students at any level.

I hired an master's level intern (public administration) last summer
to assist me with research and to help me accumulate some of the
listserv postings I've written over the past ten years. She gave me
a writing sample that was very good. Even though it was formulaic in
its construction, it was coherent and well-documented. She deserves
praise for developing a skill that many manage to avoid.

Sadly, I know that my own writing skills are not what they used to
be, as I write less often and with less rigor required than in the
past. I'm embarrassed when people praise my writing, because I know
it's not what it should be, or used to be.

Michael L. Wyland
Sumption & Wyland
818 South Hawthorne Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104-4537
(605) 336-0244
(605) 336-0275 (FAX)
(888) 4-SUMPTION (toll-free)
michael -at- sumptionandwyland -dot- com

Since 1990
Strategic Planning * Executive Coaching * Training & Facilitation *
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RE: Technical Writer or Documentation Writer?: From: Lauren
OT - Errors on cover letters: From: cupton

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