I have a Human Resources secret that I want to share with you. When you misspell a word on your job application or resume, your chances of getting that job drop to zero.
You may think it's harsh to exclude a candidate because she can't spell, but minor errors matter in a crowded job market. A misspelled word tells a hiring manager that you don't pay attention to details. In a highly competitive job market, you don't get the job if you don't double-check your work.
Here are some tips for you if you aren't a strong speller.
- Practice spelling words that you'll use in a job search like definitely, exceed, experience, occasionally, personnel and receive. Write them down on a sheet of paper 100 times each. Practice this with words you commonly misspell, too. Trust me, this is not a waste of time. Most people aren't natural writers, but spelling is not the same as writing. Spelling is all about memorization. The best way to improve your spelling is through practice. Remember how you memorized multiplication tables as a child? You need to do the same thing with words.
- Take a friend with you when you fill out applications. If you have to enter your information into kiosks, ask someone to sit with you while you go through the process. Two sets of eyes are always better than one.
- Don't trust the spellchecker to catch your mistakes. Print out a copy of your resume, read it and ask someone else to read it.
- Before you send an email to a hiring manager, send the email to a friend. Ask her to check the message for spelling errors and for clarity. Proofread everything three times before you hit the “send” button.
When applying for a job, ask your friends to check your written materials. Stick to simple and straightforward language. Pick words that are easy to spell. You aren't writing a novel. Don't cramp your hand with fancy words and don't cramp your style--and your chance to get a new job--with spelling errors.