Writing your application to match good writing style practice

If writing skills are an important part of the job you are applying for, then it would be a wise choice to make sure your application showed you know about good writing practice.

The main source of information is the Style Manual, sixth edition, revised by Snooks & Co (John Wiley & Sons 2002). Here’s some tips from this book to help you show good writing practice.

Spelling: use either The Australian Oxford dictionary or The Macquarie dictionary.

Names of organisations: All words in an official name other than articles, prepositions and conjunctions are given initial capitals. E.g. the Department of Finance and Administration. It is then referred to as ‘the department’.

Capitals: the Australian Government, the government policy. Commonwealth is always capitalised. The adjective federal requires a capital only if it forms part of an official title, such as the Federal Court of Australia, the federal government. Parliament is only capitalised in formal titles such as the Parliamentary Library. Particular words using a capital include the Cabinet, the Treasury, the Crown, the House, the Budget, Acts, Ordinances, Regulations, Bill.

Titles: official titles of many institutions are capitalised. The Governor-General, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Premier of Victoria.

Italics: Primarily used for books and periodicals, plays and long poems, films videos, television and radio programs, works of art, legislation and legal cases, the names of vehicles, scientific names of animals and plants, technical terms and terms being defined, words used in special senses, foreign words and phrases.

Underlining: reserve for showing hyperlinks on screen. Do not use for contrast or emphasis.

Abbreviations: use a full stop. Mon. Dec. fig. Cont.

Contractions: no full stops. Mr Rd Qld Cwlth

Acronyms: no full stops. TAFE ATSIC Anzac

Initialisms: no full stops. NSW SBS TV

Addresses: no full stops. 1095 St Kilda Rd

Dates: usually presented using numerals for the day and the year but with the name of the month being shown in full. 9 September 1999

The manual gives plenty of information about lay out, titles, punctuation and grammar. Dipping into this book will help lift the quality of your application.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.