What helps keep you sane when working for home?
I have just spent three hours helping my husband to study for a General Painting Contractors License to cover certain states in the midwest. The experience has been highly entertaining and informative. In fact, it has been so entertaining that I have chosen to share a few of the questions from the practice tests he has been studying. Let’s start with something very basic such as extra words.
“What should aluminum be wiped with what after weathering?”
Now, you might have quickly read this question and your eyes may have stumbled but you got the gist of the question. You might have even read it agin just to make sure. However, let’s pretend for five minutes that you have a reading disability. You might read this question like this:
“What should aluminum be wiped with what? After weathering.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have made several errors just like this one. Writing is not perfect, however, the author of this question could have taken at least 5 seconds to read the question thereby discovering the extra word.
Most of the questions are the standard multiple choice with one or two answers. This next example is confusing because the sentence has blank spaces for two answers but only one is needed.
“A HEPA sanding abatement method removes _____________ and _________________ coating.”
( ) lead based
( ) epoxy based
( ) primer based
( ) none of the above”
I read this and I automatically assumed that two answers are needed because there are two blank spaces. I quickly scanned my choices looking for one with two answers. I expected something like ( ) lead and epoxy based or ( ) both 1 and 2. As you can see, there is not a selection with two answers. I reread the question and looked at the answers again. I quickly realized that someone had made a mistake and no one had caught it.
I don’t want this post to be longer than necessary so let me sum up the rest of the errors really quick, missing articles, misused prepositions, conflicting information, and misused punctuation. These are just the common errors that I, a lowly technical writer, discovered in three hours while helping my husband study.
These materials are supposed to be designed to help a student learn. However, errors like these only confuse a student and make the learning process even more difficult.
I guess whoever wrote these materials did not consider the student’s need. After all, why bother editing if you don’t care about your audience.
By Melinda Anderson
This article has some great tips if you are starting to job hunt with the new year. However, I have a few more tips to add.
Keep your resume to one page. I cannot emphasize this enough. You have about ten seconds to impress whoever is reviewing the resumes. They do not have time to read a 2 page resume. Highlight your skills that pertain to the job that you are applying for.
Your profile from social media sites should not be included unless your profile contains parts of your portfolio. For instance, I would include my LinkedIn profile but not my personal Facebook profile. What I do on my free time socially is none of my employers business.
Your resume is a reflection of your skills not a fashion show. Unless, you are applying for a profession that is based on looks such as modeling or hair styling, do not include a picture of yourself.
Most important have fun, it is your resume. It is a reflection of your skills and your personality. If the company likes what you have to offer, they will contact you.
Good Luck and Happy New Year!
I am constantly pulled in different directions. Usually, I say yes to every request that comes my way. I try to do everything whether it is business or personal and I find myself in a mass of nerves crying in a corner. Figuratively people not literally.
I have had to realize that I cannot do everything for everyone. I have had to learn to delegate and trust others do the task that I have assigned them. So far this has worked out. I am not a bundle of nerves and things get done a lot of faster; sometimes, even better than I could have done them.
My problem comes when I am prioritizing. With two business to manage, I constantly think every thing needs to done right now. Greg McKeown has some great tips in his article How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority that I plan to use starting today.
Found this article and decided to share.
Have you made any career mistakes you wish you could change?
I saw the title of the this article on Linked In and thought what the hell. I decided to read it and see what it was about.
It is about having high standards for employees but not supporting or encouraging the employees to reach for those standards. I have worked at companies who have developed this attitude through lack of leadership and lack of communication. It seems I always land at places that need help with communication but they have no desire to change. The ship is sinking, its not their company, why fix it?
Any business or company is a a small backdrop to a bigger picture. The employees of that company have families that they support who are in turn supporting local business. Without, your business or company, the local economy in your community suffers. You say why fix it? I say I am ready for the challenge to keep people employed and communities strong.
Sometimes this doesn’t always work, the ship will change direction or it will sink. However, the point is your attitude, whether a leader or just an employee, determines if your company or business succeeds or fails.
By Melinda Anderson
My business partner, Neil Dabb has some excellent advice for those of us who self-publish in his article Formatting: The Other Critique. This advice can also be applied to the Professional and Technical Communication field; especially, when your business or company does not have a writer or editor on staff.
Other advice, check your photographs. For instance, if your work instructions state that safety guards have to be used on a machine that has a possibility of physical injury to employees, the picture or image should show the safety guard being used.
Images should also correlate to the step. In most cases, if you have five steps there should be five pictures. Not five steps on page 1 and an image on page 3 that may or may not show the employee what they are supposed to be doing.
If your employee manual states that employees should not wear jewelry when operating equipment, then the image should reflect that standard. In other words, your documentation should correlate on every level to your company, your training, your branding, and your marketing.
This will create a professional and educated work force that is positive about their job which leads to a better quality of product for your business.
By Melinda Anderson
This is about fiction writing by one of our co-founders Neil Dabb. We hope you find it useful.
You have a report to write for work, an essay for school, or the perfect novel that will make you rich and famous. You know your audience, you know your topic, you have done your research. You think this is going to be the easiest thing I have ever written. You sit down at your desk, fire up the computer, and open your preferred program for writing. There it is the blank page.
You stare at it, five minutes go by. You begin to type, shake your head, and delete the thought that had just formed. You reread your notes or browse through your research. You look at your computer but the blank page is still there. Another five minutes go by. You decide to get a drink, go for walk, do some more research but the blank page is still there when you get back.
How do you fight the blank page effect? Do you really want the secrets? Do you really want to know? Here are my three tips:
First, just type or write something that is relevant to your topic. Don’t delete it just keep going until you find your inner muse that will guide you through the document. Believe me once you start the words will flow.
Second, have a co-worker, friend, or professor look it over once it is finished to get some advice. There is a rhythm to words that if done correctly brings excitement and curiosity to the dullest of topics. However, if the sentence structure or punctuation is in correct, the reader is jolted out of the topic and quickly loses interest. Having someone read your document and just have them mark the places that jolt their eyes will help you correct your document and make you a better writer.
Third, be your self. If you are a class clown don’t try to come across as an academic. If you are an academic don’t try to come across as a class clown. Each of us has our own life experiences, therefore, each of us have our own voices when we write. This is probably the best piece of advice I can give you, however, it is one of most difficult to achieve. Writing is a very personal experience, it lets people see a side of you that normally does not show. For me, its like, I forgot to put a bra on before going to work. I am still covered but I feel like everyone is staring and judging me. However, if you can find and use your inner voice, you will be one hell of a good writer.
By Melinda Anderson