Career Panorama

Career Panorama Style Guide

10th Apr 17

Career Panorama has been established to provide an accessible platform to support members’ discussions on points of interest that are relevant to our professional practice, research, and policy development. We’ll be soliciting articles from our members and guest authors, so that we can ensure that the blog represents the full diversity of our membership.

This post will provide a brief style guide to help contributors ensure that their articles are consistent with the voice and style of Career Panorama. This style guide is based on MailChimp’s excellent style guide.

Broad goals and principles

We intend to provide an outlet for careers practitioners from a range of contexts to share the ideas, approaches, and challenges that influence the success of themselves and their clients. Some simple guiding principles for our blog posts are:

  • Empower. Use language that informs the reader and makes it possible for them to evaluate and implement your ideas.
  • Respect. Treat readers with the respect they deserve. Don’t patronise them or market at people; communicate with them. Remember that the CDAA includes practitioners from diverse professional contexts and with all levels of experience, from students through to researchers and leaders.
  • Educate. Give readers all the information they need, along with opportunities to learn more.
  • Evidence. Evidence-based practice is a cornerstone of our professional standards. Ensure that you back up your claims and provide evidence so that readers can engage critically.

Voice and tone

The CDAA is at its best when it facilitates a collegial discussion about our professional practice. In doing so on this blog, be mindful of writing in a way that balances being informative and educative while also being engaging and empowering. We love the way that MailChimp describes the voice that they aim towards:

  • Fun but not silly
  • Confident but not cocky
  • Smart but not stodgy
  • Informal but not sloppy
  • Helpful but not overbearing
  • Expert but not bossy
  • Weird but not inappropriate

Writing about people

The CDAA is a wonderfully diverse group of people and organisations who work with all kinds of different clients. Respect for this diversity is paramount and requires some attention to how we write about people.

  • Don’t refer to a person’s age or gender unless it’s relevant to what you’re writing.
  • Don’t refer to a person’s disability, medical condition, mental health, or cognitive function unless it’s explicitly relevant to your topic. If you do, use language that doesn’t reduce the person to their condition: “she has a disability” rather than “she is disabled.” Avoid words like “suffer,” “victim,” or “handicapped.”
  • Use “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Avoid gendered terms in favour of neutral alternatives, such as “businessperson” instead of “businessman.” When writing about a person, use their preferred pronouns. If you’re uncertain, just use their name.
  • When describing sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or any other form of identity, be mindful of the language that you use. Do your research into what language is appropriate.

Writing style

We won’t provide a detailed grammar, punctuation, and style guide here, but will again refer to the MailChimp style guide an example of an excellent blog style guide. Some key points to be mindful of are:

  • Use Australian English spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style conventions.
  • Write in the first person and favour the active voice. Use the passive voice sparingly and intentionally.
  • Beware Zombie Nouns!: nouns created from adjectives or verbs, such as “I completed a consultation with the client” instead of “I consulted the client” or “my client showed improvements in their confidence” instead of “my client’s confidence improved”.
  • Be concise. Use short words and sentences rather than long ones. While we don’t have a strict word count limit, 600 words is a reasonable length for a blog post. 
  • Be precise. Avoid fluff, vague language, and excessive hedging.
  • Write for all readers. Some will read every word, while others will skim read. Make reading easier for both by grouping related ideas together and using descriptive headings and subheadings.
  • Refine your topic to focus your message. Create a hierarchy of information, leading with the main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, and sections. Use headings to organise the post.

Links and citations

It is important that we acknowledge our sources, both out of intellectual integrity but also to allow our readers to delve deeper.

  • Please provide embedded hyperlinks when referring to source material that is hosted online. Be as precise as possible when linking: link to a specific page of a website rather than just the homepage.
  • If your post is more academic in nature, you can provide citations and a reference list in APA 6th edition style.
  • Prioritise open access sources and try to avoid paywalls, particularly when hyperlinking.

Finally, the editors of Career Panorama reserve the right to edit submitted articles for clarity, concision, style, accuracy, and consistency. This style guide may change or evolve over time and should not be read as a definitive list of rules.

We look forward to publishing the reflections, research, and insights of our wonderful CDAA membership.