Guest post by Robert McCauley
Job seekers receive no shortage of advice from colleagues, peers, friends, and family. Everyone has some nugget of wisdom to help you land the position. Of all the tips youâ€™re likely to receive, this one may be the most valuable:Â Dot your iâ€™s and cross your tâ€™s.
What does having strong attention to detail have to do with finding a job? Sometimes, everything. Consider these real-life resume mistakes collected by Robert Half; we call them “Resumania.”
RESUME: â€śReferees available upon request.â€ť
EDUCATION: â€śBachelor of ants degree.”
RESUME: â€śI work hard but do enjoy taking log lunches.”
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: â€śVery smard.â€ť
OBJECTIVE: â€śI want the job at your company so baldy.â€ť
SKILLS: â€śExcel at working within a tea-oriented culture.â€ť
AVAILABILITY: â€śI am defiantly open to relocating.â€ť
EDUCATION: â€śI have a bachelorette degree in computers.â€ť
QUALIFICATIONS: â€śTyping speed of -60 words per minute.â€ť
TECHNICAL ABILITIES: â€śGreat Microsoft Office skis.â€ť
Statements like these are good for laughs. But, of course, thatâ€™s not what the professionals who wrote them had hoped for. Rather than highlighting their skills and experience, they called those qualities into question. As you can see, even a single missing or misplaced letter can make a world of difference.
Still not convinced? Consider this: Three out of four executives surveyed by Robert Half said “just one or two typos in a resumeÂ are enough to remove applicants from consideration for a job.” Forty percent said it takes only one typo to rule candidates out. Thatâ€™s because hiring managers will assume a mistake in your application materials means youâ€™re just as prone to errors on the job.
Hereâ€™s how to ensure you submit an error-freeÂ resume and cover letter:
Start with spell-check.Â Thereâ€™s absolutely no excuse for not running your softwareâ€™s built-in spell-check function. But even these apps arenâ€™t perfect. Consider also using an additional tool such asÂ GrammarlyÂ to give your application materials an extra-thorough examination.
Hit Print.Â Go old-school by printing out your resume and cover letter. Itâ€™s often easier to spot typos when reviewing a hard copy than when reading a document on screen. You also can focus on formatting elementsâ€”such as font style, boldface and italicsâ€”which spelling and grammar checks wonâ€™t scan.
Go line by line.Â Proofread your documents with a ruler in hand. This simple tool allows you to focus to a single line of text at a time. Itâ€™s not a quick process, but itâ€™s worth it.
Shift into reverse. Yes, it sounds strange, but reading your documents backward will help you concentrate on individual words. Youâ€™re also less likely to assume familiar passages are OK and skip over them.
Ask for help.Â As a final step, ask a friend, family member or professional contact to review your resume. A fresh set of eyes may spot slipups youâ€™ve overlooked. Another person also can alert you to sections of your resume that might be vague or confusing. Just remember to express your thanks afterward.
What if the unthinkable happens, and you send in your resume only to discover later that it contained an error? Itâ€™s happened to me before, and itâ€™ll make your stomach drop.
Unfortunately, thereâ€™s little recourse. Resubmitting your materialsâ€”and explaining the reason for doing soâ€”will only draw more attention to the mistake. Itâ€™s better to hope the employer doesnâ€™t look too closely. At the very least, I can guarantee you wonâ€™t make the same mistake again.
Robert McCauley is a career expert withÂ Robert Half, a leading specialized staffing firm that helps skilled professionals find rewarding temporary and full-time jobs in a variety of fields. Robert has been writing about the job search and careers for more than 10 years. Connect with him and Robert Half onÂ TwitterÂ andÂ YouTube.