Today's employers are looking for something more in job applicants than just the basic ability to do the job, a Salt Lake Community College professor says.

"Most people don't realize that speaking and writing know-how, together with enthusiasm, are absolutely essential in getting and keeping a job," said Loretta Walker, English department head in the humanities division at the college."It's unbelievable the number of workers who are released from their positions because they can't write properly. They can't spell. The can't reason, or verbalize and talk sensibly. They're dull, lacking in enthusiasm. And they murder the king's English."

Walker, who specializes in oral communication, said she feels qualified to make such a stinging indictment after seeing hundreds of adult students enroll at SLCC with poor communication skills.

"Yet many of them get really excited as we show them how to develop their writing, reading and speaking abilities."

The ability to speak and write well are the most important job skills in any career suitable for college graduates, she said. This being the Information Age, Walker said, people need to learn to to be concise and to speak with language the listener or reader plainly understands.

"Become articulate on things going on in the world by reading newspapers and magazines, listening to the radio, watching worthwhile television. Have something to say by developing positive beliefs. And present your ideas with energy. The power and positive force of what you say and write will really have an effect on others," she said.