CareerBuilder is known for its surveys and the interesting tidbits that come from them.  Last summer, they released a study of the most outrageous resume mistakes.  While digging through (and laughing at) the candidate who decorated her resume with pink rabbits or the candidate who claimed to speak “Antartican”, I found a little nugget.  When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration, 61% of recruiters claimed that typos on the resume are a deal breaker.

Bad grammar and typos; these two actions will cause many a resume to go straight into the trash.  Not being able to determine the proper use of “principal” or “principle” or typing “incorporate” as “incoroporate” are deal breakers for many hiring managers.

Now, I can imagine that there are many people who are reading this and are saying “ah, come on…mistakes happen”.  Well, that is true.  Mistakes do happen.  Writing is a large part of my job, and I do make mistakes – mistakes that do not get detected through 2 levels of proofreading.  It happens; I get it.  However, when you are looking for a job, the rules change.  They become more stringent, and the consequences are harsher.

When I make a mistake, I am fully aware that there are people out there who will read what I wrote, find the typo, judge me and then close out the blog – never to return.  That is the consequence for my mistake.  When you are looking for a job, the consequence you face is that the recruiter/hiring manager will read your resume, find the typo, judge you and then toss your resume in the trash.  Is that the consequence you want to face?

You have to remember that when you are presenting yourself as a viable candidate – either through a paper resume, online application or via social media – your words, diction and grammar are all you have.  They represent you, and that representation is all readers have to formulate an opinion about you.

Right now, the job market is competitive.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average length of unemployment is 40.2 weeks; there are a lot of people looking for a job, and you need any advantage you can get.  Misspellings, bad grammar and typos will not give you that advantage.

Do not depend solely on your word processor’s spell check.  As the poem, Ode to a Spell Checker, clearly points out, words can be spelled correctly but not be the correct words.  Therefore, proofreading is of paramount importance.

Remember, no one is an island.  Ask other people to help you as you create your resume, modify your LinkedIn profile and apply for jobs.    Ask your friends and family to proofread any (and every)thing you write.  If they hand it back to you immediately, politely ask them to take another swipe at it.

If you have no one available to proof, or you feel that you have asked too much, do not underestimate the power of walking away for a second.  Once you have created your statement or paragraph, step away for a minute.  Walk around the house, check the mail, get a drink of water- anything  to clear your mind.  When you return, you are more apt to read the words differently and see your mistakes.

Also, do not underestimate the resources that Snelling can offer.  Once you sign up as associate with Snelling, we will work with you to make sure that your resume is succinct, meaningful and free of typos and bad grammar.  So visit our Office Locator page to find the nearest Snelling office today, where our qualified staffing managers can work with you to present yourself the best way possible.

By Christiane Soto,

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.