You know you should do it, but are you doing it right?
Why is it important to proofread your resume before sending it?
You already know that recruiters won't be impressed by resume mistakes (no matter how funny they are).
With that in mind, most job seekers will do some sort of resume proofreading.
After all, Microsoft Word and Google Docs have spellcheck enabled by default. The least you can do is weed out all those green and red squiggly underlines before sending your resume in, right?
Isn't that good enough?
Why is it important to proofread your resume: the numbers
In 2002, ResumeDoctor.com surveyed 2500 recruiters about their pet peeves. Their #1 choice was ‘Spelling Errors, Typos and Poor Grammar.'
In 2011, QuintCareers surveyed 59 hiring decision-makers about their peeves, and their #1 choice was also ‘Resume has spelling errors, typos, and grammatical flaws.'
And in 2014, Reed.co.uk surveyed another 300 recruiters about candidate application turn-offs.
The biggest one?
You guessed it:
It was of course, poor spelling and grammar:
They don't all do it, but it drives me nuts to know that there are recruiters discarding resumes of phenomenal candidates simply because of one misplaced letter.
It is sometimes justified, though.
And there are other times where you have to feel bad for what recruiters have to put up with too…
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Why is it important to proofread your resume: the horror stories
#2: Killer spellcheck fail
Via Deanna Arnold, Employers Advantage LLC:
I do recruiting for small businesses and I was working on an Office Manager position for a client and that usually draws in resumes with varied and diverse backgrounds. One of the resumes that I received was from a person that had received their Bachelors in Social Work and her first job out of College was a Teaching Assistant. Under that Teaching Assistant job title she listed:
Responsibilities – Assassinating teenage children in subjects that they may have difficulty in.
Obviously spell check didn't help in this case because Assassinating is a word but I am imagine that if someone would have proofed her resume for her,
she wouldn't be wondering why she is having so much trouble landing a job.
#3: Pubic spellcheck fail
Via Laura Fredrick, GuRoux Marketing Group:
I was looking for public relations jobs a few years ago, and submitting my resume like crazy to jobs I was well qualified for and sometimes over-qualified for, but was receiving no interest or calls back. This went on for months before I took my resume to a resume professional and she saw that it read ‘expert in pubic relations' instead of ‘expert in public relations' in my mission statement! I could not have been more horrified! Since pubic is a word, my computer spellcheck had overlooked it and I did too somehow. Now, years later, happily employed, I can laugh it off. The job offers came pretty quickly after I fixed the error.
And because when it rains, it pours…
Via William F. Davis, Ameriprise Financial:
While in my first job out of college (an admission counselor at a local university), while reviewing resumes of applicants for an internship position, I came across a young lady who had a very strong GPA, involvement in an academic honor society, eloquently written language, who was working on her degree in “Communication and Pubic Relations.” Yes, “Pubic Relations.”
Via Emily Altimari, UPRAISE PR:
I once reviewed a resume that said PUBIC relations specialist in lieu of PUBLIC relations specialist. If this candidate truly specialized in pubic relations, perhaps he should’ve considered a different career path.
#4: Extenuating circumstances
Via Lynda Spiegel, Rising Star Resumes:
When I was leading HR for a financial services company, I received a resume for a tech support position in our NYC office. It was a mess: the formatting was inconsistent, it was riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, and the candidate's phone number was actually a fax number. If you're wondering why I didn't just hit the delete key, well – the resume belonged to our CEO's younger brother. Ouch.
#5: Bad timing
Via Sally Elizabeth, PeopleClaim.com:
We had an applicant whose skills apparently included Writing, Editing and Prooooooofreading. She actually noticed it as we were going through her resume, turned bright red, and then had the grace to start laughing. According to her, her cat had jumped onto her keyboard just as she was making some last minute adjustments before hitting ‘print' and running out to the interview. If we'd needed someone with her particular skillset we'd have hired her instantly. Gotta have a sense of humor in our biz!
#6: Showing off your (lack of) skills
Via Nancy Sayles:
Many years ago, I was working for a Los Angeles-based book publisher. Resumes came in regularly from people who were looking to get into the publishing industry. The most memorable of these was from an individual who wanted to “apply for a job as a profreader.” He didn’t get the job, but we sure got a good laugh!
#7: It's not just about content
Via Linda Carlson, lindacarlson.com:
At the Art Institute of Seattle, I met with career advisers who asked me to review certain student resumes. One was beautifully designed but had no address, no phone number, no e-mail address—only name and vita!
#8: It's not just about typos
Via Sean Pritchard, militaryhire.com:
A resume proof reading horror story that comes to mind is when an Army Officer had used his official department of defense job description verbatim on his resume as he was transitioning to a civilian job. The description was:
“Analyzes manpower programming and budgeting data in the AMC portion of the Army Program Objective Memorandum (POM), the Army Budget Estimate Submission (BES), and the Command Plan for AMC MSC/SRA, to ensure that MTOE/TDA developed under TAADS reflect the approved military and civilian manpower program by appropriation and authorization, and that authorization data tracks to that reflected in the DA Standard Army Manpower Authorization System (SAMAS).”
Even to someone with years of experience untangling military jargon, this is very difficult to understand. To a someone without military experience, it is nearly indecipherable. Our career coach was able to help rework this resume to use more widely understood terms and the job seeker ended up landing a job in a corporate human resources role.
To sum up why it really is necessary to proofread your resumes:
- Recruiters hate grammar mistakes, typos and other spelling blunders
- Spellchecking tools aren't perfect and can't alert you to every error
- Even professional proofreaders make mistakes proofreading their own resumes
- Proofreading is also about checking for missing information
- Proofreading is ultimately about making sure readers best understand your resume
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Question of the article
Do you proofread every single resume you send? Tell us in the comments.
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