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Don’t blur lines between social media jargon and work speak

Published on Saturday, 21 Feb 2015
Christine Wright is managing director of Hays in Asia

How do you view the sender of a work-related email who writes “TTYS” (talk to you soon) or “AFAIK” (as far as I know)? Or a job applicant who uses “bgd” (background) or “BR” (best regards) in their cover letter? Or a CV that includes “cre8” (create) or “b4” (before)?

Chances are that using such acronyms outside of social media sites paints a certain picture of the sender, and it is not a good one. Colloquialisms have become commonplace in the world of social media, but – and this can come as a shock to millennials who have grown up with social media – in the world of work they are frowned on and can even damage your reputation.

Why? Social media jargon in business communication, including job applications, is seen as grammatical laziness, and given that it is unacceptable in business, it also points to your inexperience in the workplace. As a result, you appear unprofessional and naive about the world of work.

That is why we advise new entrants to the jobs market and workplace to keep social media jargon out of their business communication. Be professional in your writing style in all messages to your recruiter, boss, work colleagues, clients or suppliers. Do not blur the lines between formal and informal written communication styles.

Yes, the business world uses social media as an important communication tool, but that does not mean the workplace has adopted its flexible writing style for all business communication.

So make the right impression in the workplace by getting your basic grammar right and leave the social media jargon for outside the workplace.

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