A Quick Tip To Bring Your Resume Into 21st Century

Category : CAREER

One Space or Two? The Punctuation Battle of Generations

How a holdover from the days of typewriters inspires fierce loyalty from the masses.

By Leslie Ayres

Are you still clinging on to a habit that became obsolete decades ago?

In it, I included the tip to do a “find and replace” search in your word-processing program and turn all double spaces into single spaces.

As I said in the article, there is no reason to ever have two spaces in a business document.

One space or two?

Why is this even a question? Because it’s a style that has completely changed in the last generation.

A little history:

When books were set by hand, there was a special wider space that was used between sentences. But when typewriters were invented, all the characters were the same size, so creating a wider space required hitting the space key twice.

In the 1980s, computers and digital fonts took over, our word processing or web publishing software programs were created to make the adjustments automatically, and so then we needed just one space after a period.

In fact, using two spaces began to be considered an error in punctuation, which is why if you work in Microsoft Word, you’ll see a green underline that shows an error in grammar or punctuation when you put an extra space after the period.

And when you type into a web program, like the comments section here, the HTML will automatically delete the extra spaces.

Is two spaces always totally wrong?

One of the most eloquent and no-doubt-about-it opinions is from Farhad Manjoo of Slate.com, who wrote that “Typing two spaces after a period is totally, complete, utterly and inarguably wrong.”

He, like me, is surprised at the number of people who still use two spaces, and even more surprised at their misplaced confidence that two spaces is absolutely, positively, the proper way to do it.

Business and personal use are two different things, of course.

I want to make sure you understand where I’m coming from. Yes, I am a grammar, spelling and punctuation nitpicker, but I’m not an English teacher. I’m a recruiter and job search coach.

I’m talking about what is proper in business usage.

Business standard is one space.

In the business world—which includes your business emails, cover letters and your resume—it is important to follow standard usage, and that means one space after a period.

Every style guide will tell you to use one space. Every typographer will tell you to use one space. Every editor will tell you to use one space. Anything you read, including magazines, newspapers, books and websites, has been laid out using one space after a period. It’s simply how it’s done.

And yet, it still seems controversial.

On the personal side, do as you wish.

I’m only talking about business writing here.

Language is an art, and if your art requires putting six periods between every sentence or making everything a haiku poem when you’re writing on your blog or to your favorite Google email list, go for it.

In fact, I write my personal emails in all lower case. I find it faster and it fits my style. But that’s only for personal correspondence, never for business.

There are some style guides for college papers that call for two spaces, but they also call for double spacing between lines, because the style is meant for a teacher to have plenty of room to make comments or edits, not for business or publication.

“But that’s how I was taught and I can’t change.”

One thing is clear: people are freakin’ passionate about their opinion on this one, and the predominant reasoning of the two-spacers is some version of “that’s how I was taught, so that’s what seems right to me.”

I’ve even read comments from school teachers who acknowledge that two spaces is wrong, but still insist on teaching it to their students!

Come on folks, I relearned it, and so can you.

It’s time to give up the two spaces, people.

Yes, when we typed on typewriters, two spaces was the style. That was then and this is now.

Now we type on software with great typography capabilities, and we don’t have to trick it into leaving a little extra space for readability. It can do it on its own.

Why do I care?

Again, I’m talking about how this comes into play in a job search.

When I review your resume created in Microsoft Word, it shows me green underlines where you’ve insisted on using double spaces after a period, and that distracts me from the actual content.

Even if you send me a .pdf, my eye is trained to read documents, and I can see where an extra space has been left in, whether it’s between words or between sentences.

Those extras spaces catch my eye, and that moment of distraction means that instead of, “wow, this person looks perfect,” I am thinking, “there is a mistake” or “here’s another person who hasn’t learned to do things in the digital age.”

Is it a minor issue? Sure, in the scale of life, it might even be called petty.

But if that petty mistake diverts the attention of someone who’s considering hiring you, that little difference could be a costly choice.

So give it up, and come on over to the one-spacer side.

Heck, I bet your right thumb will thank you, too.

Need to Network More? Don’t Try This Approach

Category : CAREER

Will you please stop touching me?!

I go to events, I network, I meet people.  Why must some folks feel the need to touch me when they first meet me?  I am not talking about shaking hands, handing me a business card, or stepping on my toe.  I am talking about a complete stranger, in the course of a few minutes of trying to explain what they do, who feels the need to put their hand on either my arm or my back. 

As I sat back and pondered why this might be happening, I noticed that it is primarily men that do this.  Why is that?  Do these individuals touch everyone?  Do they only touch certain people?  Maybe it’s because I am tall and tower over them?  Perhaps they feel the need to reassure themselves that I am still there?  Do they think I am the Easter Bunny?  It is one of the great mysteries of my life.  Does anyone else experience this?

I will never forget an event I went to where I was cornered by two gentlemen I will refer to as Frick and Frack.  I could see these guys coming a mile away and I knew they were going to be trouble.  They started in on the “hard sell” and I felt like a ping-pong ball that was being battered back and forth.  Then the touching started.  Frick put his hand on my arm.  After several times, he then put his hand on my lower back.  I gave him “the look.”  He pulled his hand away but never stopped talking.  When he did it again, I snapped.  I had enough.  I said, “Frick, don’t touch me, I would hate to see you lose your hand.”  Oddly enough, that seemed to work.  And surprisingly, that got him to stop talking.  It was quiet and peaceful again. 

So if you ever run into me at an event, for the love of God, please don’t touch me!


Do you find yourself in awkward situations at networking or work-related events?  

6 Tips To Speed Up Your Job Search

Category : CAREER

The average job search is taking roughly eight months but there are ways to expedite the process.  Read More

Networking Is Essential Even When Trying To Find A Parttime Job

Category : CAREER

Top 10 People You Must Have in Your Network

By Tia Goodwin

So you know it is important to have the 2 Q’s as you build out your network: Quality and Quantity. But have you considered the importance of having a well-rounded network?

In this labor market, having a strong network is critical to your professional survival.  And I am sure you’ve read countless articles on where to find these people, what to say to them and how to maintain these connections. But do you know WHO should be in your network?

Here are the top 10 people that should be in your network:

  1. The Mentor: This is the person who has reached the level of success you aspire to have. You can learn from their success as well as their mistakes. Heed their wisdom and experience. This relationship offers a unique perspective because they have known you through several peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.
  2. The Coach: The coach is someone who comes in at different times in your life. They help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective with no strings attached.
  3. The Industry Insider: This is someone in your chosen field who has expert level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is. Invite them to be a sounding board for your next innovative idea.
  4. The Trendsetter: This is someone outside of your chosen industry that always has the latest buzz. It can be on any topic you find interesting. The goal in having this person in your network is to look for those connections that spark innovation via the unconventional. It will also help you keep your conversations interesting.
  5. The Connector: This is a person who has access to people, resources and information. As soon as they come across something related to you, they are sending you an email or picking up the phone. Connectors are great at uncovering unique ways to make connections, finding resources and opportunities most people would over look.
  6. The Idealist: This is the person in your network you can dream with. No matter how “out there” your latest idea is, this is the person that will help you brainstorm ways to make it happen. Without judgment, they are focused on helping you flush out your dreams in high definition, even if you don’t have a solid plan yet on how to make it happen.
  7. The Realist: On the flip side you still need the person who will help you keep it real. This is he person who will give you the raised eyebrow when your expectations exceed your effort. These are not people who knock down your dreams rather they challenge you to actively make your dream happen.
  8. The Visionary: Visionary people inspire you by their journey. They are similar to the Idealist, but the visionary can help you envision an actual plan to reach your goal. One personal encounter with this type of person can powerfully change the direction of your thinking and life.
  9. The Partner: You need to have someone who is in a similar place and on a similar path to share with. In fact, partners do a lot of sharing. This is a person you can share the wins and woes with. Partners will also share resources, opportunities and information.
  10. The Wanna-be: This is someone you can serve as mentor to. Someone you can help shape and guide based on your experiences. One of the best ways to tell you understand something is to be able to explain it to someone else. And sometimes, one of the best motivators for pushing through obstacles and hardship is knowing someone is watching.

Obviously you will want to have more than 10 people in your network. The trick is to make sure you are building a diverse network by adding people from different industries, backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups, etc…that fit into the roles listed above. Building a deep network by only including people from your current profession or business focus leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities.