If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m actively involved with Monty’s Home. One project I’m working on is to improve email communications by using an email marketing service. This means, I not only had to manually enter every address we’ve accumulated to date – long, boring, technical story – it also means I’ve taken over entry of the hand-written email addresses when we gather them at events and drawings.
So, let’s talk about handwriting. I am amazed. People take their time to fill out communication cards and don’t take the time to make it legible. I deciphered arrows leading to other parts of the cards, intuited letters using what little info I had and added .com or .net where appropriate. (Is it now .com “understood”? I missed that memo.) Hopefully, through bounce backs, phone numbers and repeat visits to our booths we’ll capture the correct information and reach these people. Otherwise, they’ll miss out of news they told us they wanted to hear. Why? Because they didn’t make sure they communicated contact information clearly. They assumed the reader would “know” what they meant.
Seeing this got me thinking about job seekers filling out applications. True, a good many companies use online applications now, but you still find companies that have you sit down and fill out an application by hand, on the spot. Be ready for it. No chance to have someone with better handwriting fill it out. It’s up to you. Yes. Even in filling out applications by hand, you have to write for your audience. This means, make it legible. Print neatly. Don’t assume people care enough about you to sit there and figure out what you meant. Make it clear for them. I’ll take the time to correct contact information for the non-profit group, because I value each and every supporter. A busy hiring authority doesn’t have that same motivation about you. They take the “Can’t read it? Next.” approach.
Another thing I noticed while doing all this entry was the number of people who used work email addresses to get information about personal interests. Never is it OK to get personal information at work addresses. Sure, companies seldom impose email use standards in good times, but in crunch time, misusing company resources can be used as grounds for dismissal. Plus, if you do leave the company abruptly, voluntarily or by request, you risk losing personal contact information. Better to set up a Gmail account and access from … wherever, than depend on the “security” that you’ll always have access to your well-developed network on your employer’s database – you employer’s database.
Go set up a personal, Web-based email account. Keep your personal information and professional network safely backed-up there. And from now on, make sure you neatly hand write contact and other information when asked. Your second grade teacher wasn’t wrong. Neatness and penmanship do count … even in this “text-driven” society.