Why Correct Spelling and Grammar is So Important for Your Job Search (Resume, Cover Letter, Emails, Etc)
While it cannot be denied that communication nowadays is trending more and more toward the casual end of the spectrum, there are many business settings that still demand professionalism. Your resume, cover letter, and email correspondence with recruiters and potential employers definitely fall into one of these settings. If you are searching for a new job, the level of professionalism at which you present yourself can, at times, literally make or break a deal for you.
You may be wondering why so much stock is placed in proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Well, consider the fact that the company who hires you would be depending on you to represent the quality of their products or service in the marketplace. They want to come across as professional and trustworthy to their customers, so they will look for indications that you are able to communicate at that well-educated, professional level.
So before you submit your resume and cover letter to a recruiter or an employer, spend some time proofreading them and your emails for accuracy. Here is a basic checklist to follow:
- Spelling. Are all of the words spelled correctly? Spell check is helpful, but you should not rely on it solely. Also, because your resume will include a good number of proper names that are not in the dictionary, be sure to double check the spelling on any that you are uncertain of.
- Punctuation. This is more frequently used with cover letters and email correspondence, but do not neglect to proofread for punctuation errors in all your communication. Run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and comma splices are difficult to read and understand, not to mention that they look very juvenile. Make sure all your punctuation marks are appropriately placed, and don’t hesitate to refresh your memory on anything you’re unsure about. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Grammar. Although it seems quite elementary, it is so critical that each word is used properly in the phrase or sentence. Again, you cannot rely solely on spell check here, because it might miss a subject and verb that don’t agree or an incorrect verb tense. It also doesn’t recognize when a word is spelled correctly but misused in the sentence. For example, if I were to write “The doctor asked the nurse to bring in his next patience,” spell check might not catch the error because patience is spelled correctly, even though the proper word to use there is actually patients.
- Formatting. Is your resume laid out in a way that is easy to read and understand, with clearly defined sections, bullet points, sufficient spacing, boldface highlights, etc.? Do your cover letters and emails include proper salutations and closings, short paragraphs, sufficient spacing, and a good signature at the bottom with your best contact information? Recruiters and employers greatly appreciate your efforts in this area, so much so that they just might ignore your correspondence and resume if they have unreadable formatting.
One final point that I want to mention is that you must be all the more vigilant with your proofreading when sending correspondence via a mobile device. It’s very easy to mistype a word on a small touch screen, but it’s really not acceptable to rely on the excuse of “Please forgive any typos, because I sent this from my Smartphone.” Take the extra minute or two to double check your email before you send it, and you won’t have to include that sentence in your email signature at all.
It is our goal to help you present yourself at your best during a job search, and we want to make sure that all of your communication with a future employer results in a great opinion of your potential with their company. If you need more help with formatting your resume, take a look at our previous blog article here. We can also connect you to more great resources that can help you create a stellar resume and cover letter. And always feel free to contact us directly with any other questions; we’d love to help in any way we can.