In today’s really tight and faltering job market, being good at what you do isn’t good enough. You have to get a potential employer to recognize your talent. Most hiring managers admit to spending just 25 to 60 seconds scanning a résumé. If nothing outstanding jumps out at them, your cover letter and résumé are filed away with hundreds of others. Hiring managers are also very likely to discard a résumé with spelling or grammatical errors. Many mistakes won’t be picked out by your spell-checker. Words like “their”, “they’re”, and “there”, while all correctly spelled, are not interchangeable. Several surveys conducted over the past few years have found that hiring managers will routinely list poor spelling as the number one mistake a job seeker can make. One poll revealed that over 60% of résumés and cover letters with typos were shredded immediately.
So, what’s the big deal? Everyone makes mistakes, right? The big deal is perception. Many job openings will receive hundreds of applications, an overwhelming amount of material for a hiring manager to read. Your submission may, in fact, be run through a scanner which is programmed to pick out key words. If, for instance, the job description includes having the ability to focus on detail, and your résumé mistakenly points out that you are “detial” oriented, you just ruined your chance. Not proofreading your work conveys a lazy or uncaring attitude, or worse yet, a lack of education that you are unwilling to remedy.
Read your work out loud, have a friend check it for you or hire an editor! That effort can change your life.