Content and Style Guide
Last updated: 8 March 2019
The CareerAddict Content and Style Guide was developed to help staff writers and editors, as well as advertisers, publishers and contributors, create content that is consistent and clear and that aligns with CareerAddict’s overall style, quality and tone.
Although freely accessible online, this guide is not intended for public or external use and may not be modified or reproduced in any way without the prior written consent of CareerAddict.
The guide includes advice on a variety of topics, including how to write certain words and phrases, how to show numbers and dates, when to use capitals and commas, and how to effectively use keywords. (You don’t have to remember it all; just refer to the guide whenever you need an answer.)
The guide is organised alphabetically by topic and is intended to be used as an interactive webpage where it can be easily cross referenced. You can search for a particular term (for example: ‘anchor text’) using the Ctrl+F shortcut or by browsing through the relevant section (for example: ‘Links’).
The CareerAddict Content and Style Guide is an ongoing project and will continue to grow based on feedback, research and work on other CareerAddict products. If we update this guide, we will notify writers and editors in writing whether anything has changed, as well as change the date listed at the top of the page.
If you have any questions or suggestions about the guide, please email [email protected]
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Spell out abbreviations and acronyms on first reference, unless they’re well known, like ‘CEO’, ‘FAQ’, ‘HTML’, ‘NASA’, ‘UK’ and ‘VAT’. Do remember, though, that you’re writing for an international audience, so what might be a well-known abbreviation or acronym in the UK or the US might be unknown to readers in other countries.
If an abbreviation or acronym is to be used more than once in an article, put it in brackets on first mention, for example: ‘Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)’, and then use the abbreviation only on all other mentions, for example: ‘CIMA’.
Do not use full stops in abbreviations, or spaces between initials, including those in proper names, for example: ‘JK Rowling’.
Use lowercase when abbreviating a phrase (for example: ‘mph’) but uppercase for names and titles.
Form the plural of abbreviations by adding a lowercase S without an apostrophe, for example: ‘CVs’.
Active Voice vs Passive Voice
Prefer to use the active voice rather than the passive voice.
Consider the following examples:
- John sent the email.
- The email was sent by John.
Although both sentences mean the same thing, the first (which uses the active voice) is more interesting, direct and impactful than the second (which uses the passive voice).
The distinction is simple:
- Active voice: A does B
- Passive voice: B is done (usually) by A
Of course, there are exceptions, and some sentences simply sound better in the passive voice (such as when you want to emphasise the action over the subject), but the active voice almost always makes for better sentences.
When describing ages or lengths of time, use hyphens in compound adjectives, for example: ‘a five-year-old boy’ or ‘a two-year employment gap’.
When placing an age immediately after a name, sandwich the age between two commas, for example: ‘Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, 49, is the current CEO of the Lego Group’.
Do not reference a person’s age unless it’s directly relevant to what you’re writing.
Do not use ampersands (&) unless they’re part of a name, for example: ‘Marks & Spencer’.
Use the word ‘and’ instead.
Use an apostrophe:
- to indicate possession, for example: ‘Sarah’s desk’, as in the desk belongs to Sarah
- for singular names and nouns ending in S, add an apostrophe followed by a second S, for example: ‘Charles’s office’
- for plural names and nouns ending in S, add only an apostrophe, for example: ‘the workers’ right to compensation’
- to indicate the omission of one or more letters, for example: ‘you’re’, as in the contraction of ‘you are’
- when it can replace the word ‘of’, for example: ‘three years’ experience in web design’
Do not use an apostrophe:
- when referring to something that belongs to ‘it’, for example: ‘the company plans to expand its presence in Europe’
- to form the plural of nouns, abbreviations or dates made up of numbers, for example: ‘buses’, ‘CVs’, ‘1980s’, etc
- to mark the plural of individual letters; instead, capitalise the letter and add a lowercase S at the end, for example: ‘dot your Is and cross your Ts’.
Use round brackets to provide extra information, explanations, translations, etc, for example: ‘Google (which was founded in 1998) currently employs over 73,000 people’.
Use square brackets to add corrections, references and other comments, for example: ‘Anna wrote, “The new hires signed there [sic] contracts today”’.
Any punctuation inside brackets is independent of the rest of the text, for example: ‘Mrs Pennyfarthing (What? Yes, that was her name!) was my manager at Company ABC’.
Text in brackets is usually short and within a single sentence.
(Where complete sentences enclosed in brackets serve as supplemental material to the rest of the text, then the final full stop should be placed inside the brackets, as shown here.)
British vs American English
There are many varieties of English spoken around the world, though British English and American English are the two most popular varieties used as standards of education in non English-speaking countries.
At CareerAddict, we use British English for all our content. Of course, there are exceptions when we need to adopt American English grammar and spelling in our writing – for example, when quoting text or when referencing a company that uses American English spelling in its name.
Generally speaking, British English maintains the spelling of words it has absorbed from other languages over time (mainly French and German). American English, on the other hand, tends to spell words how they sound when spoken. A wonderful example of this is the word ‘cheque’, which is spelled ‘check’ in American English.
Some of the key differences between British and American English are outlined below.
- Most words ending in ‘-ise’ in British English (‘optimise’, ‘personalise’) end in ‘-ize’ in American English (‘optimize’, ‘personalize’).
- Likewise, words ending in ‘-yse’ in British English (‘analyse’, ‘paralyse’) end in ‘-yze’ in American English (‘analyze’, ‘paralyze’).
- fThe same applies to words ending in ‘-our’ in British English (‘humour’, ‘labour’), which are changed to end in ‘-or’ in American English (‘humor’, ‘labor’).
- Americans sometimes swap around the ‘r’ and the ‘e’ in some words. For example, it’s ‘centre’ in British English but ‘center’ in American English.
- In British English, we typically use ‘-ce’ for nouns (‘licence’, ‘practice’) and ‘-se’ (‘license’, ‘practise’) for verbs. However, there is no distinction between nouns and verbs in American English, and ‘-ce’ is generally used for both.
- British English uses two Ls in words like ‘traveller’. American English uses only one (‘traveler’).
- We also use ‘ae’ and ‘oe’ in words like ‘encyclopaedia’ and ‘amoeba’. Our American friends instead only use a single ‘e’ (‘encyclopedia’ and ‘ameba’).
- We say ‘programme’, whereas the Americans say ‘program’. However, we do say ‘program’ when referring to computer software.
- American English uses double quotation marks. We use single quotation marks.
- The Oxford comma is quite common in the US. It is not in the UK (though there are exceptions – see 'Commas' for details).
- The present perfect tense (which is used to describe a past event with present consequences) is more common in British English than it is in American English. For example, in British English, you would say ‘Derek feels sick; he has eaten too much’. In American English, however, you would normally use the past simple tense and say ‘Derek feels sick; he ate too much’.
- In British English, many past simple verbs can end in ‘-ed’ or ‘-t’ such as ‘learned’ or ‘learnt’ and ‘dreamed’ or ‘dreamt’. In American English, ‘-ed’ is the preferred ending.
Sometimes, we use completely different words than Americans. For example, we say:
- ‘autumn’, not ‘fall’
- ‘bin’, not ‘trash can’
- ‘flat’, not ‘apartment’
- ‘holiday’, not ‘vacation’
- ‘lift’, not ‘elevator’
- ‘lorry’, not ‘truck’
- ‘mobile phone’, not ‘cell phone’
- ‘mortuary’, not ‘morgue’
- ‘queue’, not ‘line’
- ‘trainers’, not ‘sneakers’
Other tricky words and phrases include:
- ‘consult’, not ‘consult with’
- ‘maths’, not ‘math’
- ‘meet’, not ‘meet with’
- ‘talk to’, not ‘talk with’
- ‘towards’, not ‘toward’
Use title case for titles, headings and subheadings, where all words are capitalised, with exceptions such as articles, conjunctions and prepositions, for example: ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps over the Lazy Dog’.
Use sentence case for all other text, where only the first letter of the sentence is capitalised, with exceptions such as abbreviations and proper nouns, for example: ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’.
DO NOT USE UPPER CASE FOR LARGE AMOUNTS OF TEXT. IT IS DISTRACTING AND HARD TO READ. IT ALSO LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AT PEOPLE!
CareerAddict is divided into 5 main categories, which are further divided into 24 subcategories. These subcategories cover a large variety of work and career-related topics such as choosing the right career, avoiding common CV mistakes and requesting a pay increase.
All articles published on CareerAddict must fit into one of the following subcategories.
Starting Your Career
- Career Paths
- Choosing a Career
- School Leavers
- Student Life
Finding a Job
- CVs & Résumés
- Job Search
- Working Abroad
- Break Room
- Company Culture
- Money & Success
Succeeding at Work
- Career Advancement
- Career Development
- Professional Skills
- Web & Tech
- HR & Recruitment
Commas are great because they help break up a sentence but should be used minimally. Too many commas may be a sign that a sentence should be shorter, changed into a bullet point list or completely rewritten.
The comma is perhaps the most difficult punctuation mark to use in the English language.
This section provides an overview of its correct application.
Commas after an Introductory Phrase
Add a comma after a participial or adverbial phrase:
- After accepting the job offer, Mark phoned his wife to tell her the good news.
This, however, isn’t always necessary, especially when the phrase is short:
- Behind the building there is enough parking space for 10 cars.
As a rule, use the comma if the introductory phrase is at least four words long, though feel free to use a comma with a shorter phrase if you want to add a pause for literary effect or to emphasise it.
Commas with a Non-Restrictive Clause
Use a pair of commas to separate a word group that isn’t essential to the sentence:
- Web design, which has always interested me, is different from web development.
- Larry Page, cofounder and CEO of Google, has a current net worth of $50.8 billion (£38.7 billion).
Commas with a Transitional Word or Phrase
Use a comma after a transitional word or phrase if it begins the sentence:
- However, it was too late for that.
Use a pair of commas to surround the transitional word or phrase if it’s in the middle of the sentence:
- It was, however, too late for that.
Commas with Direct Address
When directly addressing someone by name, add a comma after the name:
- John, please let the team know we’ve moved the meeting to 3pm.
Commas between Coordinate Adjectives
Coordinate adjectives are two or more adjectives that describe the same noun. If the word ‘and’ is placed between each adjective or if their order is switched around, the sentence will still make sense.
Separate coordinate adjectives with a comma:
- He is a clever, conniving businessman.
- He is a conniving, clever businessman.
Commas with Quotes
Use a comma to separate an attributive tag (for example: ‘Henry said’) from a direct or complete quotation:
- Henry said, ‘I know the name of the new hiring manager. It’s Jonathan’.
- ‘I know the name of the new hiring manager. It’s Jonathan’, Henry said.
- ‘I know the name of the new hiring manager’, Henry said. ‘It’s Jonathan’.
Do not use a comma to introduce an indirect or partial quotation:
- He said his performance put him ‘firmly on the road to a much-deserved promotion’.
Place commas outside quotation marks:
- ‘Passion is energy’, said Oprah Winfrey. ‘Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you’.
Commas in Dates
Never use commas in dates:
- The deadline for applications in 12 April 2019.
Commas with ‘As Well As’
Use a comma before ‘as well as’ if it’s part of a non-restrictive clause:
- A relevant undergraduate degree, as well as up-to-date knowledge of best SEO practices, is necessary.
Commas with ‘But’
Use a comma before the word ‘but’ if it joins two independent clauses:
- I’m going to invite Melissa to join us for lunch, but I don’t think she can make it.
Do not use a comma after ‘but’ unless it’s immediately followed by an interrupter:
- But, of course, writing a CV is not easy.
Commas with ‘Such As’
If ‘such as’ introduces a restrictive clause, a comma is not necessary:
- Medical professionals such as surgeons must obtain a medical degree before they can legally practise medicine.
- This year we’d like to expand to a European city such as Paris or Stockholm.
However, if it introduces a non-restrictive clause, then a comma is necessary:
- An increasing number of doctors, such as those in Bangladesh and Venezuela, are leaving their own countries to work in more developed countries.
- I like to plan my holidays around three-day weekends, such as Easter.
Commas with ‘Too’
These are often optional and are mostly used for emphasis:
- Karen received a pay rise too.
- Karen received a pay rise, too.
Do not use the Oxford comma (a comma before the final ‘and’ or ‘or’ at the end of a sequence of items) unless it helps to prevent ambiguity:
- Our new team members’ names are Anthony, Hope and Charlie.
- I ate fish and chips, bread and jam, and ice cream on my lunch break. (The speaker here had three separate meals.)
- Mary left her money to her parents, Mother Teresa, and the pope. (Omitting the final comma here might suggest that Mother Teresa and the pope are Mary’s parents.)
Do not use commas to connect two independent clauses. Instead, use a semicolon, en-dash or conjunction, or rewrite the two clauses as separate sentences:
- It’s nearly 2pm; I’m going to be late for my interview.
- It’s nearly 2pm – I’m going to be late for my interview.
- It’s nearly 2pm and I’m going to be late for my interview.
- It’s nearly 2pm. I’m going to be late for my interview.
A missing comma can alter the entire meaning of an otherwise straightforward sentence:
- Let’s eat Grandma! (This suggests we want to eat Grandma.)
- Let’s eat, Grandma! (This suggests that someone is requesting Grandma to join them at the dinner table.)
In other words, commas save lives!
A common trick you can use to identify whether a comma is needed or not is to sound out the sentence. If you said it without pausing, then you probably don’t need a comma; if you did, then you need one.
Dashes and Hyphens
Avoid the em-dash (—) at all times.
Use an en-dash (–):
- to replace commas or round brackets, for example: ‘His name – if I remember correctly – is John’ (with spaces)
- to link two parts of a sentence, for example: ‘Michael needed to go to town – John gave him a lift’ (with spaces)
- to link concepts or a range of numbers, for example: ‘The salary for the post is £40,000–£45,000’ (without spaces)
- to specify the names of joint authors, etc, to distinguish from hyphenated names of a single person, for example: ‘Lennon–McCartney compositions’ (without spaces).
Use a hyphen (-):
- in an adjectival phrase before a noun, for example: ‘an up-to-date list’
- in an adjectival phrase containing a verb particle, for example: ‘an ear-splitting shriek’
- with prefixes before a proper name, number or date, for example: ‘in mid-September’
- with prefixes only if required to avoid confusion or mispronunciation, for example: ‘email address’, ‘pre-eminent’, ‘re-released’, etc
- in numbers which are spelled out, for example: ‘forty-nine’.
Write dates in the following sequence: day month year (for example: ‘30 March 1968’). Do not add a suffix after the day, for example: ‘30th’.
Refer to days by name, for example: ‘Monday’. Avoid using ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘last night’, etc when referring to a specific day. Provide a date in brackets to avoid ambiguity. This rule does not apply to generalisations, for example: ‘the hiring trends of tomorrow’.
Do not abbreviate month names. Always write them out in full.
Decades and Centuries
Add a lowercase S at the end of a decade when including the century, for example: ‘1980s’, ‘1990s’, ‘2000s’, etc. Do not add an apostrophe before the S.
Add an apostrophe before the decade when omitting the century, for example: ‘the summer of ‘69’.
Capitalise the word ‘century’ when referring to a specific century, for example: ‘the 21st Century’. This does not apply to generalisations, for example: ‘by the end of the century’.
Decimals and Fractions
Spell out fractions, for example: ‘two-thirds’.
Use decimal points when a number can’t be easily written out as a fraction, for example: ‘1.76’ or ‘49.277’.
Although we strive for conciseness in the content that we create, that does not mean we should sacrifice depth.Your article should cover the topic it is addressing as comprehensively as possible.
So, if you’re listing the most common interview mistakes in your article, don’t just write a list of mistakes and say they’re mistakes that will hinder the reader’s chances of getting hired. Instead, explain why they’re mistakes and how the reader can avoid them.
Remember: your goal is to educate. Your readers are reading your article because they’re looking for an answer to a question, a solution to a problem. Make sure you deliver.
That said, do stay on topic. Don’t get sidetracked with subtopics that could easily be covered in a separate article. For example, if you’re writing about how to write a CV, you can mention that it should be accompanied by a cover letter – but don’t delve into details about how to write a cover letter.
It’s also important to remember that writing an in-depth article doesn’t necessarily mean a long article.
Use an ellipsis (…) followed by a space to show that some text is missing within a quoted sentence, for example: ‘The car that was reported stolen… belonged to Mark in Accounting.’ The ellipsis here might have simply replaced ‘on Tuesday morning’.
Ellipses may also be used as a pause for comic or dramatic effect in a sentence, in place of omitted text at the end of a sentence or when trailing off in speech or thought.
Do not add a full stop or comma after an ellipsis. Use exclamation and question marks when necessary, for example: ‘Are you…?’
Do not use ellipses in titles. Use them in headings and subheadings only when necessary (such as when connecting a subheading to the previous one), but don’t make a habit out of it. Ellipses should be used sparingly.
Use lowercase for email addresses, and do not hyperlink.
Do not provide private email addresses. Only provide email addresses that are publicly available (such as those of companies) if and when necessary.
Use placeholder email addresses for examples such as when describing how to format an email address on a CV, for example: ‘[email protected]’.
Use italics for foreign words and phrases, including species and genera names in Latin:
- Employers expect to see a photo of you in the top right-hand corner of your Lebenslauf, the German version of a CV.
- The domestic cat (felis catus) is a small, typically furry, carnivorous animal that is often kept as an indoor pet.
This does not apply to words and phrases which have been integrated into the English language such as ‘curriculum vitae’ and ‘faux pas’.
Avoid using the following Latin abbreviations where possible:
- eg – use ‘for example’ instead
- et al – use ‘and others’ instead
- etc – use ‘and so on’ or ‘and the rest’ instead
- ie – use ‘in other words’ or ‘that is to say’ instead
Aim to create evergreen content: content that won’t need to be updated once something happens or changes (such as a person’s age or job title).
Consider this example, taken from ‘How to Become a Palaeontologist (Career Path)’:
- [Jack Horner] not only served as the technical advisor for Jurassic Park (and all its sequels) but also as the inspiration for its main character, Dr Alan Grant.
As of 2019, there were four sequels to the original Jurassic Park film. Jack Horner served as the technical advisor for all five films, so the sentence can also be written as such:
- [Jack Horner] not only served as the technical advisor for Jurassic Park (and its four sequels) but also as the inspiration for its main character, Dr Alan Grant.
However, when the sixth and final instalment in the series is released in 2021, for which Horner will likely resume his role as technical advisor, this would make the sentence factually incorrect, as he will have then worked on all five sequels.
As such, the phrase ‘and all its sequels’ makes the sentence future-friendly, meaning that it won’t have to be edited to ‘and its five sequels’ (from ‘and its four sequels’) when the sixth film is released in 2021.
Likewise, avoid using directional language that describes the location of something on a webpage, for example: ‘in the upper left corner of the page’. This is because the instructions may not make sense to readers if the specific website later changes its design.
Do not use generic statements such as ‘at the time of writing’ to get around these issues.
Headings and Subheadings
Headings and subheadings keep content organised and help to guide readers through your article. They also make your article visually appealing and, when used correctly, they can even help to improve your article’s SEO performance.
There are six levels of HTML headings: H1 through to H6.
- H1 headings are reserved for page and article titles, and are disabled by default.
- H2–H6 headings are used to break content down into smaller, easily digestible pieces of information.
Headings should be organised in a hierarchical structure (an H2 should be nestled under an H1, an H3 under an H2, and so on).
The following are best practices for using HTML headings.
- Always start heading levels at H2. Do not skip levels (for example, from H2 to H4), as it may seem that there is missing content when there isn’t.
- Limit article sections and subsections to three levels (up to H4). Avoid using H5 and H6 subheadings, as it can quickly become messy.
- Create headings and subheadings in sets of two or more. For example, if you only have one H3 under a H2, either combine it with the rest of the section or break the section down into further subsections.
- Do not create H3 subheadings and beyond unless you have a minimum of two.
- Keep headings to a maximum of three to seven words long, and aim for consistency.
- Include the most relevant keywords so that it’s clear to readers what each section is about.
- Use title case, for example: ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps over the Lazy Dog’.
- Do not use bold or italics to emphasise certain words or phrases in headings. Use uppercase if and when absolutely necessary.
- Avoid using technical terms in headings. For example, unless you’ve already explained what a CTA is, don’t say ‘End with a CTA’. Say ‘End with a Call to Action’ instead.
- Do not hyperlink headings. Find a way to link to the webpage you want to link to in the relevant section.
- Do not use headings for styling purposes such as when you want to bring attention to something important. Use bold or italics instead.
Use parallel structure, ie: headings must be written in the same grammatical form. For example, if giving instructions for writing a CV requires a set of steps, each step should be written in the same form as other headings of the same level, as shown below.
- Include Keywords (imperative)
- Highlight Your Achievements (imperative)
- Proofread for Grammar and Spelling Mistakes (imperative)
- Include Keywords (imperative)
- Highlighting Your Achievements (gerund)
- Grammar and Spelling Mistakes (noun phrase)
Where possible, avoid using the gerund form of verbs, for example: ‘including’, ‘highlighting’, ‘proofreading’, etc. Headings almost always sound better when they’re more actionable, and gerunds are typically more passive in nature.
Highlighting and Emphasising Text
Avoid excessive use of bold or italic fonts.
Use bold or italics – sparingly – to emphasise important words and phrases in your article, but not large blocks of text.
Never underline text as it may be confused with links on a webpage, and readers may think a link is broken when they try to click on the text and it doesn’t work. Instead, use bold or italics.
Use uppercase to emphasise certain words or short phrases in titles, headings and subheadings, but generally avoid doing so within the body of your article.
Adding high-quality, relevant and interesting images to your article is a great way to break up content and make it visually appealing. It also helps you explain your message – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
This section covers everything you need to know about adding images to your article.
All articles must include a featured image. You are unable to submit your article without one, even if it’s just a placeholder image.
This will appear at the top of the page, above the content, and should clearly represent what the article is about.
Featured images must be a minimum of 700px (w) x 400px (h) in size – anything larger will be automatically resized in the image uploader.
Below are specifications for featured images:
- Resolution: 300dpi or 400x1080ppi minimum
- Accepted file formats: JPG, JPEG or PNG
- File size: 5MB maximum (100KB recommended)
Add optional body images where and when it makes sense. You are not required to submit images with your article, though you are encouraged to provide suggestions.
Body images must be a minimum of 400px (w) x 400px (h) and a maximum of 700px (w) x 700px (h). When using more than one image in the body of your article, make sure they’re all sized consistently.
Below are specifications for body images:
- Resolution: 300dpi or 400x1080ppi minimum
- File format: JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF
- File size: 5MB maximum (100KB recommended)
Do not duplicate featured images in the body of your article.
If adding images to a list article (for example: ‘Top 10 Highest Paid Female Singers in the World’), make sure you add an image for every entry.
Although we do accept GIFs within articles, don’t go overboard: too many of them will distract the reader.
During the image upload process, you will be prompted to provide a source URL (for example: ‘https://www.careeraddict.com/advertise/’) and title (for example: ‘CareerAddict’).
Do not source images to a file path (for example: ‘https://www.careeraddict.com/advertise-careeraddict.jpg’) or to the homepage of a website (for example: ‘https://www.careeraddict.com/’).
Below is an overview of how to correctly attribute images for various sources.
Custom images (images specifically created by CareerAddict for use in articles) are property of CareerAddict and, therefore, do not require attribution.
Screenshots (of apps, websites, software programs, etc) do not require attribution if it is clear what the screenshot in question is illustrating.
Free Stock Photography Sites
Always check – and honour – the image attribution requirements of individual free stock photography sites before using their images.
Unsplash, for example, doesn’t require (though does encourage) attribution. Credit Unsplash images to ‘[Artist Name] / Unsplash’ and link to the relevant source URL.
Never attribute images to Google Images. Aim to attribute images to their original owners – use TinEye to find out who owns an image and where it comes from.
Licensed and Copyrighted Materials
All images and graphics, other than those downloaded from Depositphotos.com, must be licensed under a Creative Commons licence, available in the public domain or your own property.
If you are using copyrighted material in your article, you must first seek the explicit written permission of the relevant copyright holder(s) to use and/or reproduce it.
Credit all licensed and copyrighted images according to the relevant owners’ specific attribution requirements.
CareerAddict disclaims all responsibility and liability for the use of licensed and copyrighted materials that are submitted for publication on its website.
Always include alt text in your images.
The alt text describes your image to search engines and provides a clear text alternative of the image for screen reader users (for example, people who are blind or who have a learning disability).
Alt text should briefly and accurately describe the image in no more than 125 characters, for example: ‘Close-up of two young businessmen shaking hands in an office’.
If you’re using a graph or chart, include the data in the alt text.
We generally do not caption images in articles, but there are occasions when doing so is advised, such as if it helps better explain the image in question.
Below are some general tips for captioning images.
- Use a caption only to describe what is happening in the image, not to summarise the story.
- Be descriptive but brief. Stick to one or two sentences.
- Fit the tone of the image. For example, don’t make a joke when the image depicts something serious.
- State the facts – don’t make any guesses. For example, if an image depicts two laughing young men wearing business suits, don’t try to guess why they’re laughing or where they bought their suits from.
- Use the caption field in the image uploader to add captions. Do not add captions as plain text underneath an image.
- Before adding a caption, always think of the reader first: will it help them in any way? If it won’t, then don’t bother.
Avoid using generic file names like ‘IMG_3068.jpg’ when saving images to your desktop or mobile device to upload to your article. Instead, opt for more keyword-rich, descriptive names like ‘two-businessmen-shaking-hands.jpg’.
Search engines do not only crawl text in articles but also search for keywords within image file names. This practice is, therefore, crucial for image optimisation.
You may not, under any circumstances, edit or otherwise modify images other than those licensed to or created by CareerAddict. Resizing or cropping images is, however, acceptable.
We do not accept:
- images of poor quality (including those that are blurry, grainy or poorly cropped)
- watermarked images
- images that contain borders or effects
- images that contain sexually explicit or suggestive material or nudity, including strategically covered nudity (for example, a woman hiding her breasts with her arms)
- images that depict violence or illegal activities or substances
- images that depict shocking content
- images that contain vulgar or offensive language or gestures.
Using keywords in your article is a great way to help it get found when users search for those keywords on search engines like Google. It is the first step to a successful SEO strategy.
Of course, there are some rules and best practices to follow when including keywords in your article, outlined below.
- Consider your readers’ search intent. What are they searching for and how are they searching for it? Are they searching for ‘CV writing tips’ or ‘How to write a CV’?
- Focus on your main keyword. If your main keyword is ‘job interview tips’, for example, make sure your article addresses the same topic throughout.
- Introduce your main keyword ASAP. The best place for this is in the introduction.
- Use keywords naturally. Don’t force keywords where they don’t belong; they should read like a natural part of a sentence. If a keyword/phrase isn’t grammatically correct, consider adding a word to it. For example, ‘write a CV’ sounds better than ‘write CV’.
- Don’t just stick them in the body of your article. Where possible, add keywords to titles, headings, subheadings, meta descriptions, image file names and image alt text, too.
- Go long. Use long-tail keywords (keyword phrases usually about 3–5 words long) where possible. Although less popular, they’re more targeted to specific searches and they come with less competition.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t spam your article with keywords like this: ‘If you’re in the process of writing your CV, this CV writing guide will help you write a great a CV’. As you can see, three different variations of ‘writing a CV’ are used in the same sentence, which is less than enjoyable to read.
- Keep keyword density to a maximum of 3%. Anything more than this and you risk keyword stuffing. Use SEOBook.com’s free Keyword Density Analyzer tool to determine your keywords’ density score.
- Use synonyms and variations. This makes the reading process a smooth one. For example, if your main keyword is ‘cover letter writing’, consider also using ‘writing a cover letter’ and ‘write a cover letter’ as keywords.
- Don’t sacrifice quality. While successfully sprinkling keywords in your article is important, creating useful and educational content is even more important. Remember that you’re ultimately writing for humans, not search engines.
Upon assignment of an article, you’ll be provided with a list of keywords to use in your article which you should aim to use at least once. Although you don’t have to use them all, it is highly recommended.
Articles should be at least 1,200 words long, though there are occasions when you may need to write a significantly longer article if a specific topic calls for it. For example, it’s not uncommon for Career Paths articles to exceed 2,000 words in length.
Of course, if you can successfully get your message across in 1,000 words, for example, then that’s okay. We would much rather prefer a shorter article than one that has been unnecessarily prolonged.
However long or short your article is, though, make sure that it covers the topic as comprehensively as possible – without risking conciseness and readability, of course.
Adding links to your article is a great way to point readers to relevant content and trusted external resources. It can also help to drive traffic to other CareerAddict articles and improve overall SEO performance.
Below are some basic principles to follow when adding links to your article.
- Link to a minimum of five relevant CareerAddict articles, including the relevant category’s main article.
- Make sure internal links always outnumber external links. For example, if you’ve included five external links in your article, there should be at least six internal links. (Amazon.com affiliate links and image sources are exempt from this rule.)
- Ensure all external links are set to open in a ‘New Window’.
- Make sure all links are directly relevant to what you’re writing about. For example, do not link to an article about interview dress codes if you’re writing about CV photos (unless you can naturally incorporate it into your text).
- Do not flood your article with links. Where possible, avoid adding more than two links per paragraph.
- Make sure all internal (and, if possible, external) links point to HTTPS instead of HTTP pages. In other words, the correct URL destination of a webpage should begin with ‘https://’, not ‘http://’.
Always add links to credible sources for any claims you make in your article, especially when citing factual, medical, scientific or statistical data. Do not use tabloid newspapers, forum boards, open source projects (in which anyone can add or edit content) and blogs of questionable credibility to source information.
Where possible, always cite the original source. For example, let’s say you came across an interesting statistic in a news article and would like to reference it in your article. With a little research, you’ll be able to locate the original survey the statistic was cited from – so why cite the middleman?
Do not link to a website’s homepage, blog roll or where content changes on a regular basis to source information unless absolutely necessary (such as if you’re linking to a specific webpage on a flash site whose URL remains the same for all its pages). Anchor Text
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. It is often blue and underlined, like this link to the CareerAddict homepage. (On CareerAddict, anchor text is orange.)
Below are some tips for creating SEO-friendly anchor text:
- Keep anchor text as succinct and concise as possible, but generally try to link more than one word. Use descriptive keywords or phrases that reflect the same topic or keywords the destination link is trying to target.
- Do not hyperlink generic anchor text like ‘click here’ or ‘read this’.
- Do not hyperlink spaces before or after anchor text, or punctuation ending anchor text.
- Do not hyperlink articles (‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, etc) preceding the main keyword or phrase.
- Do not display full URLs without anchor text (known as naked anchors) such as https://www.careeraddict.com/. (There are, however, exceptions to this rule; see Fictional Websites and URLs below for details.)
Fictional Websites and URLs
If using fictional websites and URLs for the sake of an example (such as when demonstrating how to format a website on a CV), do not hyperlink them – and make sure they don’t already exist! Alternatively, use ‘www.example.com’, a domain established specifically to be used for illustrative purposes.
Amazon.com Affiliate Links
When linking to Amazon.com products in your article, make sure to always use trackable affiliate links of the relevant products.
To do this:
1. Log in to CareerAddict’s Amazon.com Associates account.
2. Go to Amazon.com and search for the product you want to link to.
3. Click on the item to open its Product Details page.
4. On Site Strip (the horizontal bar located at the top of the page), click ‘Text’ to create a trackable link of the product. (To shorten the URL, select ‘Short Link’.)
5. Copy and paste the generated product link into your article (with appropriate anchor text).
Aim to naturally incorporate Amazon.com affiliate links into the text of your article. Avoid using overly salesy language such as ‘buy it now’.
We do not accept:
- broken or expired links
- duplicated links (links which appear more than once in an article)
- links which are irrelevant to what you’re writing about
- links which direct to files such as images and PDFs
- links which direct to offensive, immoral or illegal material
- links that redirect users to unwanted websites
- links that automatically initiate downloads
- links which violate Google’s AdSense content policies
- affiliate links which are not officially associated with CareerAddict.
A meta description is a snippet which is used to summarise a webpage’s content and is placed in the specific webpage’s HTML. It usually appears in search engine results and lets people know if the page can provide them with the information they want. As a result, it is an important feature for improving a page’s click-through rate and overall SEO.
Below are some general guidelines for writing effective meta descriptions.
- Use keywords. Identify the main keywords from your article and incorporate them into your description as naturally as possible. Avoid repeating keywords in the same description; instead, opt for variations or synonyms.
- Make it actionable. Use the active voice to entice readers. You can do this by using action verbs such as ‘discover’ or ‘learn’ to start your description. Keep it from 120 to 160 characters long. Google typically displays meta descriptions up to 158 characters in length in its search results, while Bing and Yahoo! both show up to 168 characters. Mobile devices, meanwhile, display only about 120 characters. As such, aim for a description that is a maximum of 120 characters long; feel free to write more if you need to but 160 is the absolute limit.
- Don’t force it. If you only need 100 characters to get your message across, so be it. Don’t awkwardly fluff up your description for the sake of it.
- Put the most important information first. As mentioned previously, different search engines have different lengths for meta descriptions, which may increase or decrease from time to time. As such, putting the important information at the beginning of the description avoids it being cut off if a search engine later decreases its description length.
- Make it unique. Duplicating descriptions across several pages will hamper SEO performance.
- Represent the page accurately. Make sure that your article delivers on any claims and promises you make in the meta description – overselling or misrepresenting what’s on the page can lead to an increased bounce rate.
- Proofread it. Always check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Even a small typo can deter people from clicking through.
See below for an example of a strong meta description:
- Discover the importance of regularly updating your CV, plus get insightful tips on how to revamp this important document so you land your dream job.
And here’s a weak one:
- Updating your CV on a regular basis has many benefits, and there are many ways to do this. Here are 10 of them to help you land the job of your dreams.
We generally use the pound sterling (£) when talking about money:
- 1p, 50p, etc
- £1, £50, £1,000, etc
- £1 million, £10 billion, £50 trillion, etc
Separate decimals with a full stop, for example: ‘£34.99’. Omit the decimal if the number is rounded, for example: ‘£35’.
When using a foreign currency, provide a GBP conversion in brackets, for example: ‘$1 billion (£756.5 million)’. The actual conversion is £756,463,255.50 but you should round the number up or down as appropriate (in this case, it was rounded up).
This rule, of course, does not mean you should put £756,700 in brackets after ‘I feel like a million bucks’!
Use XE.com for currency conversions.
If you provide any currency conversions in an article, be sure to mention the date of conversion. You should do this at the bottom of the article by adding the following statement: ‘Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 16 October 2018’.
Many of our articles contain salary information, particularly highest-paying jobs lists and Career Paths guides, and we generally use UK and US data to accommodate both audiences.
If providing salary information from two different sources (for example, a US-specific salary and a UK-specific salary for the same job), separate the salaries with a forward flash, for example: ‘$25,000 / £19,000’.
If, however, you’re converting one amount into another currency, add the converted amount in brackets after the original amount, for example: ‘$25,000 (£19,000).
Use official government sources such as the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US and the National Careers Service in UK for salary information. Do not rely on salary comparison sites such as Glassdoor and PayScale, as data is generally supplied by anonymous users and is not always reliable.
Write out numbers under, but not including, 10, for example: ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’, etc’.
Use digits for numbers over, and including, 10, for example: ‘10’, ‘11’, ‘12’, etc.
If a sentence contains numbers under and over 10, use digits for both, for example: ‘There are 12 employees in Marketing but only 4 in Accounting’.
Follow the same rules above for ordinal numbers, for example: ‘eighth’, ‘ninth’, ‘10th’, ‘11th’, etc. Do not superscript ordinal numbers.
Write large numbers (numbers with 4 or more digits) with a comma between every 3 digits, for example: ‘1,234,567’.
Write rounded numbers like 1,500,000 as ‘1.5 million’.
Do not abbreviate ‘million’ to ‘m’, ‘billion’ to ‘b’, etc unless part of an article title.
Do not use ‘k’ to indicate thousands. Write the number out in full unless part of an article title, for example: ‘50,000’, not ‘50k’.
Do not replicate an idea (or, worse, an entire article) you saw on another blog. Instead, think about how you can contribute your opinion to the discussion or add your personal touch to the article.
Unless absolutely necessary, do not quote text from other articles (whether those published on CareerAddict or elsewhere) when it can be simply rewritten in your own words. Remember: readers want to read what you have to say – not what you can recycle!
We take plagiarism very seriously at CareerAddict, whether it is passing off someone else’s work as your own or reproducing your own previously published work as though it were brand new.
Types of plagiarism include:
- direct plagiarism – reproducing someone else’s work, whether in part or as a whole, without attribution and without quotation marks
- self-plagiarism – reproducing your own work, whether in part or as a whole
- mosaic plagiarism or patch writing – borrowing phrases from someone else’s work without quotation marks, rephrasing sentences, changing words or using synonyms while maintaining the same general structure and meaning as the original text
- accidental plagiarism – neglecting to cite sources (either because you forgot to or you don’t know how to), misquoting sources or unintentionally paraphrasing sources without attribution
- mash-up plagiarism – mixing copied text from multiple sources.
All articles are run through plagiarism detection software during editorial review. Any direct or suspected plagiarism will result in the rejection of your article and, depending on the severity of plagiarism, an official warning or instant dismissal.
Use the per cent symbol (%) when citing percentages.
Example: The study found that 92% of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates.
Avoid writing sentences that begin with a percentage. If there’s no way around this, spell out the number followed by ‘per cent’ (two words, not one).
Example: Ninety-two per cent of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates.
Here are some general guidelines for when writing about people in your article.
Give people’s full names (for example: ‘Andrew Fairfield’) on first reference and only their surname (for example: ‘Fairfield’) or their title and surname (for example: ‘Mr Fairfield’) on all other references. Make sure to remain consistent throughout your article with whichever method you choose.
Spell people’s names how they do themselves. For example, it’s Barbra Streisand, not Barbara Streisand. Note that some famous people use non-traditional styling for their stage names (such as k.d.lang and P!nk), and should always be addressed as such in a professional capacity.
Maintain diacritical marks, such as accents and cedillas, in people’s names (Céline, François, Siôn, etc).
Use ‘John Smith’, ‘Jane Smith’, etc for placeholder names (such as when providing an example on how to format contact information on a CV).
Use hyphens in double-barrelled names (for example: ‘Daniel Day-Lewis’). However, do note that some people do not to generally use a hyphen in their double-barrelled name (for example: ‘Helena Bonham Carter’).
Honours and Titles
Use honorifics (‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, etc) where appropriate and always without a full stop at the end.
Do not use honorifics for actors, artists, authors, convicted criminals, entertainers, journalists, musicians, sportspeople, etc, for example: ‘Woods gave an interview to Sports Illustrated’.
Do not use foreign titles (for example: ‘Herr’, ‘Madame’, etc).
Make sure you address people with formal titles correctly, for example: ‘Sir Ian McKellen’, ‘Dame Judi Dench’, etc).
When referring to people with academic and professional titles such as Dr or Professor, use their title and full name (for example: ‘Dr Meredith Grey’) on first reference and then their title and surname (for example: ‘Dr Grey’) on all subsequent references.
Do not abbreviate ‘Professor’ to ‘Prof’.
Do not include full stops or spaces in initials. For example, it’s ‘JK Rowling’, not ‘J.K. Rowling’.
Capitalise individual job titles when referring to a specific role, for example: ‘Our new Social Media Manager starts today’.
Do not capitalise when referring to a role in general terms, for example: ‘All the sales assistants are expected to attend the meeting’.
Never use the word ‘one’ as a personal pronoun, for example: ‘One must submit their application by 1 March’. It sounds stuffy and old-fashioned.
Below is an overview of how to write about cities, countries, companies and schools.
When required, provide the full postal address (including postcode and country) of the company, organisation, institution, etc you are referring to in your article.
Format addresses in a single line, separating each part with a comma, for example:
10 Downing Street, Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2AA, England
Omit commas when the address appears on separate lines, for example:
10 Downing Street
Use a placeholder address for examples, such as when describing how to format contact information on a CV.
Companies and Brands
Spell company and brand names as they do themselves, such as:
- Barclays Bank
- JPMorgan Chase
- Marks & Spencer or M&S
- PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC
If in doubt, consult the particular company’s official website.
Avoid using trademarked names when making generalisations. For example, instead of Hoover, use ‘vacuum cleaner’; instead of Kleenex, use ‘tissue’; etc.
Use the singular form for company and brand names, for example: ‘Apple launched its highly anticipated iPhone X last year’.
Capitalise the names of departments and teams but not the words ‘department’ or ‘team’, for example: ‘the Marketing department’.
Do not capitalise compass points (north, south, east, west), unless they form part of the name of a place (‘North Korea’, ‘Middle East’, ‘South America’, etc).
Do avoid ambiguity. For example, if writing about ‘northern England’, refer to it as such and not simply as ‘the North’ as this could be confusing to readers in Scotland.
Use lowercase and hyphens for adjectives (‘north-east England’, ‘a north-westerly direction’, etc).
Countries and Cities
Capitalise the names of countries, cities, continents, etc (London, England, Europe, etc).
On first mention, write out ‘United Kingdom’ and then use ‘UK’ for subsequent mentions. The same rule applies to any other country or federation with a common abbreviation such as ‘European Union’ (‘EU’) and ‘United States’ (‘US’). Do not add full stops in abbreviations.
Use ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain’ carefully. The UK (a shortened form of the country’s full name, which is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) consists of four component countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Great Britain refers to the large island that consists of England, Scotland and Wales.
The British Isles, meanwhile, is a purely geographical term and refers to the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as 6,000 smaller islands, including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It is a politically controversial term, and although widely accepted internationally, it is not recognised by the Republic of Ireland whose citizens do not describe themselves as British. As such, it should be avoided at all times.
‘Ireland’ refers to the island that comprises Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
‘America’ does not refer to the United States of America. It refers to the continent consisting of North America (which is made up of the US, Canada and Mexico), South America (which is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, etc) and Central America (which is made up of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, etc).
Be careful with capital cities – they’re often not the obvious one. For example, Brasilia is the capital city of Brazil (not Rio de Janeiro); Albany is the capital city of the state of New York (not New York City); etc.
Spelling is equally important. For example, Colombia is a country in South America. Columbia, on the other hand, could refer to the capital city of South Carolina (which is a state in the US), the District of Columbia (Washington DC), a river in North America, a film studio or a record label.
Capitalise names of rivers, seas, mountains, etc (river Thames, Sydney harbour, Mount Everest, etc).
Government Agencies, Building Names, etc
Capitalise names of government agencies, buildings, facilities, etc and ensure British English spelling is used even for places that use local English spellings. For example, ‘Pearl Harbor’ becomes ‘Pearl Harbour’, ‘Department of Defense’ becomes ‘Department of Defence’, ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’ becomes ‘Bureau of Labour Statistics’, etc.
Schools, Colleges and Universities
Use the full official name of a school, college and university upon first reference, for example: ‘King’s College London’. On all others references, use its more common name or abbreviation, in this case: ‘KCL’.
The words ‘school’, ‘college’ and ‘university’ should only be capitalised when they form part of a name (‘Warwick School’, ‘Exeter College’, ‘the University of Oxford’, etc). When referring to a school, college or university without its full name, only ‘university’ should be capitalised (‘the school’, ‘the college’, ‘the University’). When used more generally, however, neither word should be capitalised, for example: ‘Funding for universities has been cut recently’.
Before you submit your article for editorial review, make sure you proofread it – and then proofread it again. This avoids having to reject submissions and send them back for revisions, which only delays the overall review process.
Below are some practical tips and tricks for effective proofreading:
- Use a spell checker. If you’re using a word processing program to write your article, make sure you’ve enabled the spell check feature and that it is set to British English. That said, don’t rely on it entirely, as it may miss potentially embarrassing typos in otherwise grammatically correct sentences (think: ‘working in a busty office’).
- Take a break. Give yourself some distance from your writing before you start to proofread. If you’re not on a tight schedule, leave it for a couple of hours or even a day. That way, you’ll be able to come back to it with a clear head and, therefore, be better able to spot mistakes you would probably otherwise miss. Even 10 or 15 minutes is better than nothing!
- Read it backwards. This will effectively slow your reading speed down, allowing you to focus more on individual words, punctuation marks, etc rather than complete sentences.
- Focus on one area at a time. In other words, don’t proofread your article from start to finish in one sitting. Instead, go through your article once for spelling mistakes, then again for grammar, then for punctuation, then clarity and so on.
- Change the font. This will encourage you to be more focused and critical in your editing. Whichever font you choose to use is entirely up to you but the more distinctly different it is from the original font, the better.
- Check the facts. Proofreading isn’t just limited to checking for grammar and spelling errors; it also extends to ensuring the integrity and accuracy of facts such as dates, figures and names. Remember: even a single inconsistency can threaten your credibility and, indeed, your reputation as an authoritative writer.
Publications and Creative Works
Use title case for all publications and creative works, and always maintain their original spelling, whether in British or in American English.
Italicise titles of books, movies, TV series, plays, works of art, newspapers, magazines, academic journals, video games, collections of poetry, musical albums, operas, etc:
- The 4-Hour Workweek is Timothy Ferriss’s first book.
- The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is on display at the Louvre in Paris.
Do not italicise or capitalise the word ‘the’ if it begins the name of a newspaper or magazine:
- There was a story in the Financial Times the other day about the growing unemployment rate.
There are two exceptions to this rule: The Times and The Economist.
Use single quotation marks for titles of songs, articles, lectures, speeches, poems, episodes of TV and radio series, essays, book chapters, etc:
- Céline Dion originally didn’t want to record ‘My Heart Will Go On’ but her husband convinced her otherwise.
- In his essay ‘Once More to the Lake’, EB White reflects on fatherhood and summertime.
All articles are subject to editorial review before publication on CareerAddict.
Articles are typically reviewed within five business days on a first come, first served basis. However, this may take up to 10 days (sometimes more) during busy periods or holidays.
Our editors reserve the right to make any editorial changes to your article as and when they see fit and without prior notice. This includes amending or correcting grammar and spelling errors, faulty sentence structure and formatting issues, as well as adding, editing or removing text, links and media.
Our editors also reserve the right to approve or reject an article for publication at their own discretion. If your article is rejected, you will be provided with an explanation and, if applicable, feedback to make any necessary changes.
All editorial decisions are final. You may, however, appeal a decision if you believe it is not fair. Please email [email protected] describing in detail the reasons for appeal; we will then evaluate your request and make a final decision, revising the previous decision if necessary.
Articles which are approved for publication on CareerAddict will be scheduled in our publication queue.
We usually update the blog twice a day, five times a week (Monday to Friday), except on some UK public holidays.
Publication times vary depending on the backlog of articles and may take anywhere between a few hours to several weeks from the date of submission. Articles that address trending topics or which are sponsored by advertisers will be given priority in the publication queue.
Please note that we reserve the right to reschedule articles or cancel their publication altogether without prior notice.
All articles are attributed to the relevant author, except sponsored posts which are either attributed to the author, the official CareerAddict account or, if written by the sponsor and at the sponsor’s request, the sponsor’s specially created account.
You may request to remove your name from a published article at any time. In the event you decide to remove yourself from your article, or if your account is deleted or terminated, authorship will be transferred to the official CareerAddict account.
All content produced for and published on CareerAddict, including text and images, is the intellectual property of CareerAddict.
Upon submission of your article for editorial review, you automatically and wholly transfer ownership rights to CareerAddict.
Self-promotion within an article (for example, a link to your personal blog) is only acceptable if it does not distract the reader and if it generally adds value to your article in some way.
We do not send proofs of edited articles for review or approval prior to their publication on CareerAddict. CareerAddict assumes complete editorial control.
You automatically lose the right to edit an article once it is submitted for editorial review or it is published on CareerAddict.
If you would like to make any additions or corrections to your article at this stage, please email [email protected] with a list of changes indicating the paragraph and line number, and describing what needs to be changed.
All requests are subject to approval by the Editor-in-Chief.
We do not delete published articles from CareerAddict upon the request of authors. Published articles can only be deleted at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief or in compliance with international law.
Republishing your article, whether in part or as a whole, elsewhere on the internet or in print format is strictly prohibited. You may publish an excerpt of your article on your personal blog or online portfolio, for example, but never in its entirety.
Below are some things to keep in mind if your article was successfully published on CareerAddict.
Engage with your readers. Respond to readers’ questions and comments, both on CareerAddict and on CareerAddict’s social media pages, and generally try to encourage a discussion with them.
Check your article is working for readers. Use search analytics data and reader feedback to confirm your article is working for your readers and make any relevant adjustments if and where necessary. (Please note that all edits, corrections and amendments must be submitted to the editorial team for approval.)
Share your article to your own social media pages. This is entirely optional, but it can be a great way to promote yourself, increase traffic to your article and gather a following.
Ranges and Spans
Use an en-dash (–) to indicate a range or span of numbers, for example: ‘Expect a response in 2–3 weeks’. Do not add spaces around the en-dash.
Below is a growing list of useful links and online tools that you may find helpful while planning and writing your article.
- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) – a public body offering expert information and advice to employers and employees in the UK
- BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook – an online career guide provided by the US government’s Bureau of Labour Statistics
- Careers Wales – the national careers service in Wales
- Cliche Finder – a free tool for finding and highlighting clichés
- Debrett’s – a resourceful guide on peerage, knightage and baronetage titles
- Google Keyword Planner – a keyword research tool
- GOV.UK – the official UK government website
- Grammarly – a free online grammar checker; also has a premium version
- Hemingway Editor – a free online editing tool
- Moz Keyword Explorer – a premium keyword research tool
- Moz Link Explorer – an online link-building tool
- My World of Work – Scotland’s online careers information and advice service
- National Careers Service – the publicly-funded careers service in England
- nidirect Careers – the official careers service in Northern Ireland
- Not Going to Uni – an online apprenticeships guide for the UK
- Prospects – the UK’s biggest graduate careers website
- Readable – a free readability test tool
- Thesaurus.com – a free, extensive resource for synonyms and antonyms
- TinEye – a free reverse image search engine; handy if you want to find out who owns a particular image and where it comes from
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) – the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education
- World Telephone Numbering Guide – a free comprehensive guide containing information on the world’s telephone numbering formats
- XE.com – a free online currency converter
Use a semicolon to link two parts of a sentence together that do not logically depend on each other and which can stand alone as grammatically correct sentences, for example: ‘The best job is the one you enjoy; the worst job is the one you hate’.
You can also use semicolons to divide the items of a list if they are long or contain internal division, for example: ‘The company plans to expand to London, England; New York City, US; Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; and Edinburgh, Scotland’.
Social Sharing Text
All CareerAddict articles are shared to our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, usually a day or two after publication.
The snippets of text that accompany them are a great way to help us build relationships with our social followers and to increase our click-through rate. This means that we need to be careful and deliberate in what we post.
Below are some general guidelines for writing compelling social media posts.
- Keep it short. The maximum length is 120 characters (including spaces). You don’t have to use them all; even 40 characters can sometimes do the trick.
- Make it personal. Use pronouns such as ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘you’ rather than ‘the company’ and ‘jobseekers’. Remember: you’re trying to build a relationship and engagement – and referring to readers as ‘jobseekers’ only creates distance between CareerAddict and the reader.
- Use hashtags (wisely). Include one to three relevant (and, where possible, trending) hashtags either at the end of or within your post (or both), but don’t overdo it. Don’t include more hashtags than words, and don’t make every word a hashtag!
- Mention others, especially influencers. For example, if you’re writing an article about getting a job at Facebook, consider mentioning @MarkZuckerberg (if appropriate). This could help your post get noticed and shared, which will ultimately drive more traffic to your article.
- Make it interesting. Use the active voice. Maintain an upbeat, positive and conversational tone. Excite and inspire.
- Add a CTA. You can do this by asking a question and then inviting followers to take action.
- Make a promise. Tell readers they ‘will’ – not ‘can’ – learn about something. And make sure your article delivers!
- Don’t repeat the meta description. The meta description is a keyword-rich summary of your article; the social sharing text is more of a CTA. Both should be unique from each other.
- Don’t use text speak. For example, don’t replace ‘you’ with ‘u’ or ‘for’ with ‘4’. And don’t use excessive exclamation marks!!!!!
- Proofread it. Always check your grammar and spelling. Remember: social media can be a very unforgiving place.
Here’s an example of a good social media post, taken from ‘How to Become a Palaeontologist (Career Path)’:
- Like #dinosaurs? Want to dig them up for a living? Find out how! #Palaeontology #FindACareer
And here’s an example of a bad one:
- This is how to become a palaeontologist.
In the UK, telephone numbers are formatted in different ways, depending on what they are used for and where.
For most numbers, use a 5-6 format, for example: ‘07xxx xxxxxx’.
For numbers beginning with 02, use a 3-4-4 format, for example: ‘02x xxxx xxxx’.
For more information how to format UK telephone numbers, consult this helpful guide.
For international numbers, include the country code in brackets after a plus sign, for example: ‘+(44) (0)7xxx xxxxxx’.
Format telephone numbers according to local conventions. For example, some countries use hyphens or full stops instead of spaces between groups of numbers. Consult the World Telephone Numbering Guide for individual country numbering formats.
Do not provide personal telephone numbers (whether your own or someone else’s) in articles. Only provide the telephone number of a company, organisation, etc when and if absolutely necessary.
Use fictitious numbers for examples (such as when describing how to format contact information on a CV) to avoid accidentally using real phone numbers, as readers may call the numbers used. Use ‘01632 xxxxxx’ for fictitious UK phone numbers.
Use Celsius for temperatures. Digits should always be used in temperatures, for example: ‘8C’, ‘22C’, etc. Do not add the degree symbol (°).
When using centigrade or Fahrenheit, provide a conversion in Celsius in brackets.
Use the 12-hour clock to reference specific times.
Use a colon to separate hours from minutes, and do not add a space between the time and ‘am’ or ‘pm’, for example: ‘10am’, ‘4:30pm’, etc.
Do not capitalise or add full stops in ‘am’ and ‘pm’.
Use ‘noon’ or ‘midnight’ instead of ‘12’, ‘12 noon’ or ‘12 midnight’, for example: ‘The closing date for applications is noon on 30 October’.
Provide time conversions in GMT+0 if referencing international times.
Use ‘o’clock’ carefully. Avoid if it threatens ambiguity.
Although article titles shouldn’t sound like clickbait, they should be impactful and attention-grabbing.
Below are some tips to help you write a catchy title.
- Keep it short. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of title tags in search results. As a general rule of thumb, you should keep the length of your title within this range.
- Be specific. The more specific your title, the more compelled readers will be to read your article. For example, ‘How to Write a CV’ is less specific than ’75 Tips for Writing the Perfect CV for School Leavers’ and will, therefore, likely result in fewer clicks.
- Use numbers. People love numbers. They provide quantifiable value and specificity, and they tell readers exactly what to expect from reading your article. Remember to always use digits in titles! (Numbers ending in 0 and 5 generally receive better traffic.)
- Use interesting adjectives. Don’t just write about 10 tips for finding a job – write about 10 essential tips for finding the perfect job!
- Use keywords – but don’t overdo it. Your title should include at least the main keyword of your article’s subject or a synonym or variation of it. It should also sound natural.
- Make an audacious promise. If you can show your readers how to update their CV in five minutes, they’ll be quick to take you up on your offer. Make sure that you’re able to deliver on your promise, though – there’s nothing worse than a title or article that doesn’t live up to its expectations.
- Brainstorm with someone else. Once you’ve refined your title, ask a fellow writer or editor for their input – after all, they say ‘two heads are better than one’ for a reason!
- Perfect the title. Use the tips above to finalise your title once you’ve finished writing your article. You should also aim to write at least two more versions of your title as backup, and make sure to provide all options during the submission of your article for review.
Topics (or tags) are valuable keywords or terms that are generally used to describe what your article is about. They help to classify content in a way that is useful for readers and easy for search engines to understand. They’re similar to – but more specific than – categories.
Below are some general guidelines for adding topics to your article.
- Add a minimum of three and a maximum of five topics to your article.
- Make sure the topics you choose are directly relevant to the content of your article.
- Aim to use the same topic across different articles where appropriate and relevant.
Please note that you are only able to select pre-existing topics; you are not allowed to create new ones. However, if a specific article could benefit from the addition of a topic not currently available, feel free to email your recommendations to [email protected]. If approved, these will be manually added to your article and to the CMS for future use.
Below is a list of commonly misused or misspelled words to look out for.
- 9 to 5 (noun, for example: ‘working 9 to 5’) / 9-to-5 (adjective, for example: ‘a 9-to-5 job’)
- A-level (capitalised A, hyphenated)
- affect (verb, ie: to influence); effect (noun, ie: a result)
- back up (verb) / backup (noun or adjective)
- complement (ie: to complete or perfect something) / compliment (ie: to praise someone or something)
- cover letter (prefer over ‘covering letter’)
- coworker (not hyphenated)
- CV (avoid using ‘curriculum vitae’ unnecessarily)
- decision making (noun) / decision-making (adjective, ie: ‘decision-making skills’)
- dos and don’ts (no apostrophe before either S)
- eCommerce (do not capitalise the E, even when it begins a sentence)
- email (not hyphenated)
- entry level (noun, for example: ‘start at entry level’) / entry-level (adjective, for example: ‘an entry-level job’)
- follow up (verb, for example: ‘to follow up on my previous email’) / follow-up (noun, for example: ‘a follow-up email’)
- full time (adverb, for example: ‘working full time’) / full-time (adjective, for example: ‘a full-time position’)
- internet (not capitalised)
- irregardless (not a word; replace with ‘regardless’)
- its (ie: belongs to it) / it’s (ie: contraction of ‘it is’)
- job board
- job search
- job seeking
- jobseeker (no space)
- lay off (verb, with space, for example: ‘the company announced it will lay off 200 employees’) / layoff (noun, without space, for example: ‘the company announced 200 layoffs’)
- licence (noun, for example: ‘you need an AAT licence’) / license (verb, for example: ‘the AAT must license you’)
- maths (not ‘math’)
- meet (not ‘meet with’)
- millennial (not capitalised)
- multitask (not hyphenated)
- O-level (capitalised O, hyphenated)
- okay (not ‘OK’ or ‘ok’)
- over time (adverb phrase, ie: gradually) / overtime (noun, ie: extra hours worked)
- part time (adverb, for example: ‘studying part time at university’) / part-time (adjective, for example: ‘a part-time degree’)
- per cent (with space)
- practice (noun, for example: ‘practice makes perfect’) / practise (verb, for example: ‘to practise medicine’)
- pre-employment (hyphenated)
- premier (ie: first in order or importance) / premiere (ie: initial showing or performance of a play, movie, etc)
- principal (ie: first in order of appearance; also, a head of school or other educational institution) / principle (ie: a rule or belief governing one’s behaviour)
- program (used in a computing context) / programme (used for everything else)
- pros and cons (no apostrophes)
- resign (ie: to hand in one’s notice) / re-sign (ie: to sign a document again)
- resume (ie: to continue or to assume again) / résumé (ie: a document outlining a person’s educational and professional experience; the US equivalent of a CV)
- school leaver
- self-employed (hyphenated)
- stationary (ie: to remain still) / stationery (ie: writing materials)
- there (a place) / their (belongs to them) / they’re (ie: they are)
- turn around (verb, for example: ‘to turn around and walk out the door’) / turnaround (adjective, for example: ‘the turnaround time for your order’)
- up to date (adverb, not hyphenated) / up-to-date (adjective, hyphenated)
- work from home (verb phrase, for example: ‘the company allows employees to work from home’) / work-from-home (adjective, for example: ‘the best work-from-home jobs’)
- work shadowing
- work-life balance
Voice and Tone
Although often used interchangeably, voice and tone are two very different things.
Voice is the steady personality of a brand; it is permanent and does not change.
Tone, on the other hand, does change and it changes all the time; it refers to the shifting moods and attitudes of your writing.
This section provides an overview of our own voice and tone.
Brands have personality – just like people – and we use our voice to express our personality in the content we publish on CareerAddict.
Sometimes it’s easier to describe voice by saying what it is and what it is not.
CareerAddict’s voice is:
It is not:
- overly conversational
- overly technical
Our tone is usually professional yet informal, but changes depending on who we’re writing for. After all, how you speak to children is (hopefully) much different than how you speak to grown-ups!
Similarly, the tone of your writing will vary depending on if you’re targeting school leavers or business owners in your article. It will be more informal for one audience and more expert for the other.
We also adjust our tone depending on the reader’s particular situation and emotional state. For example, if they’ve been unfairly dismissed and they’re looking for information about their rights, you’ll need to adopt a more serious tone. On the other hand, if you’re writing about fun things to do after work, a more light-hearted tone is expected.
Below are some general guidelines for incorporating the CareerAddict voice and tone in your writing.
- Use the active voice. It’s more direct and impactful.
- Address the reader directly. Speak to them, not about them.
- Use contractions (‘you’re’, ‘we’ll’, etc). They give your article a more friendly, conversational tone. (Sometimes lots of ‘cannot’, ‘will not’, etc can make your article sound archaic and overly formal.)
- Consider your target audience. Are they school leavers, business owners, career changers, etc? Write for them.
- Use humour (where relevant and appropriate). But don’t overdo it. Remember: your goal is to instruct, not to entertain. (On that note, don’t go out of your way to sound funny – it will likely have the opposite effect.)
- Inject some of your own personality. Share personal anecdotes and professional views – in moderation and without turning it into a personal blog!
- Avoid swearing as much as possible. If you do use profanity, make sure it’s in moderation, it’s not intended to offend and it’s directly relevant to what you’re writing about, such as when describing examples of unacceptable language in the workplace. Always bleep swear words with asterisks (for example: ‘son of a b*tch)’.
Weights and Measures
Use the metric system for weights and measures.
Spell out measurements when not using a number, for example: ‘How many kilometres do you travel to get to work each day?’.
Abbreviate measures when using a number, for example: ‘21cm’, ‘60kg’, ‘10m’, etc. Do not add a space between the number and the measure.
When using imperial units, provide a conversion in the metric system in brackets.