Some of the most important documents in your career are the cover letter and resume you submit to you next job prospect. I am amazed, though, at how many typos and misused words jump out at me when I read a resume, cover letter, or accompanying email. This article is a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder to proofread your resume, cover letter, email, and any other form of written documentation that goes out under your name.
Don’t rely on your word processing software to identify your errors. Yes, word processors, such as Microsoft® Word®, have a built-in spell check feature. In Word, misspelled words are “commonly” underlined in red. I say “commonly” because there are times when I have seen a badly misspelled word that Word does not catch. I don’t know why, because it is obviously wrong and doesn’t represent any word that I recognize, but for whatever reason Word doesn’t identify it as misspelled. Therefore, don’t trust Microsoft Word to catch your spelling errors. Proofread it!
Watch out for homonyms. Homonyms are words that sound similar but have different meanings. Often on resumes and cover letters I see “there” instead of “their” (or vice versa), and recently I saw “peek” instead of “peak” and “presents” instead of “presence.” Proofread it!
It’s the wrong word. Spell check will not identify misspelled words that are actual words. I commonly see “manger” instead of “manager” on a resume or cover letter. Since “manger” is an actual word, spell check won’t warn you that it is used incorrectly. Proofread it!
Yes, use the spell check feature. In Word, right click on words that display a red underline and choose the correct word from the shortcut menu or press the F7 function key – a short cut to run spell check. Just remember that you need to proofread the document before you submit it as a sample of your written communication skills.
Reread your document after you edit it. Often we edit documents and then assume that it reads correctly and send it on its way. Editing a document and proofreading a document are two different processes. Always perform a final proof of your document as the final step before submitting it.
Sometimes we are so connected to a document that we wrote, it is difficult to see the misspellings and grammatical errors. If that is the case, have someone else proofread it for you.
As a final reminder, consider the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.”
So don’t forget to proofread it! – LC
Lisa Carroll is Relationship Manager at Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement(www.kkandw.com)and Owner of Carroll Quality Alliance, LLC, Promoting Quality of Business and Quality of Life through Technology and Communications Training (www.carrollquality.com) She facilitates CMI workshops for CMAA Chapters and provides remote, webinar-based software training for Clubs and their staff.