Make no mistake – it’s vital

Make no mistake – it’s vital

There are some resume crimes that employers just won’t forgive. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. You are not there to plead your case when a typo leaps from the page and torpedoes your application.

I receive a fair few emails from job hunters outraged at being overlooked for a job they feel they were well-qualified for without realising that their missive of lament to me is full of typos and grammatical errors.

Was their resume or cover letter equally littered with mistakes?

Recruitment firm Robert Half surveyed 150 senior executives and found 76 per cent are unforgiving when it comes to typos.

Robert Half director Andrew Brushfield says employers view resumes as a reflection of the applicant. If you make errors on your application, employers assume you’ll make mistakes on the job. Tough but true.

As well as proofreading, he recommends leaving a gap between the time that you finish your final draft and when you perform your final proofread. He suggests that “fresh eyes” can make all the difference.

As a professional writer I can tell you that if you look at something you have written enough times and make changes along the way as you draft and redraft your document, you can no longer see any mistakes you make.

In journalism, we have highly experienced sub-editors to save us but you don’t. I agree with Brushfield’s recommendation of printing out your final draft to proofread and then handing it to someone else to read.

Brushfield also advises reading over your draft from top to bottom. Sometimes people will skip a chunk they have re-read a couple of times. However, it is easy to forget you may have added a detail here or an extra letter or comma there that doesn’t belong.

“Read it aloud. Your ears might catch errors your eyes have overlooked,” he says.

Unfortunately, some jobseekers don’t realise that typos and other slip-ups won’t always be caught by spellcheck. There is no room for error. Reaching into the Robert Half sin bin, some real-life examples include:

“Hope to hear from you, shorty”, “I have a keen eye for derail”, and “I’m attacking my resume for you to review”.

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