How to Text Yourself Out of a Job

Texting on a keyboard phone

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I get it. We are firmly in the digital age where texting is more common than talking. Our smartphones and gadgets have become an extension of our own limbs. We are communicating more than ever with our fingers and all of this “talk” requires us to adapt for rapid fire updates. So we use text speak, clever abbreviations and emoticons that save us time and precious characters when conversing online. Text speak may be common but do not assume it is universally accepted.

You Are What You Text

Last week someone related a story of receiving an email from a job candidate that ended in text speak. The candidate was quickly disregarded for the position. Sadly, it is not the only text gone wrong story I have heard. It is hard to find a job description in any industry that does not ask for communication skills. Candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate their communication skills long before the interview in inquires, cover letters and resumes. The ability to articulate your thoughts in writing is a prized skill that can set you apart from other candidates. It is never acceptable to use text speak in the job search process unless you have been asked to do so.

To Text or Not to Text

The shorthand of texting is convenient and acceptable under limited conditions. I would argue that it should be used sparingly even in “acceptable” situations. You may get a pass on Twitter or Facebook but resorting to text shorthand in your job search communications makes you appear either lazy or incompetent, qualities not associated with winning candidates. You may use text so often that you lapse into the shorthand without realizing it. If so, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with  full sentences. Before you hit send on a business communication, take the the time to double check it. If necessary have a written checklist that reminds you to look for text shorthand.

The Shortfalls of Shorthand

Communication is an interchange, a giving of information. That interchange can be hindered when you use shorthand, jargon or slang that may not be universally understood. We cannot assume that everyone speaks “text.” I limit my own use to abbreviating retweets in fast moving twitter chats and the occasional shorthand in a message to family members. As a professional communicator I would rather be understood than text savvy.

Your verbal and written communications, like it or not, give people an impression of you. Those who take the time to hone their communication skills often soar in their careers. They command respect with their words and are taken seriously as professionals. My advice is to save text speak for friends and casual situations. In professional situations showcase your ability with complete communications.


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