One of the most interesting aspects to two jobs I’ve held was being able to peruse resumes for other job openings within the company. I was able to “screen” candidates before putting them into a pile for a higher authority to peruse. It was also a good opportunity to check out how others were representing themselves: The resume should be the selling point of you. It’s the one place where you can feel free to go all-out and list all of the awesome things you’ve accomplished without feeling cocky. This is why you should hire me and this is why I’ll be an asset to your company.
However, there’s been an alarming trend that I’ve noticed recently: Horrific misspellings. Misspellings that a common spellchecker should be able to pick up. Although nobody is perfect, isn’t stating that you’re from “New Jarsey” a glaring error? I’ve even dealt with people misspelling the job title that they were applying for.
These errors aren’t just in resumes – I’ve seen them in ads for businesses, invoices and flyers. Certain websites laugh over misspelled tattoos – things that will be on your body forever. What gives?
Not to sound like a curmudgeon at the ripe old age of 27, but I think that text acronyms might be to blame. Back in the day, before unlimited text plans, I could understand why “before” might have to be “b4” – those extra letters could cost you ten cents! Nowadays, texting is a popular way of communicating – heck, I’d rather text to make plans for the night instead of calling someone (I have a fear of awkward phone pauses). Perhaps now, people are so dependent on text shortcuts that they forget how they shouldn’t be applied to professional documents. Or maybe, some people feel as if “CUL8R” has made its way into the lexicon. Quite honestly, shortcuts take more time for me to both type out and process – the fact that they’re slowly becoming more and more acceptable is somewhat of a bummer.
Back in my day, spelling used to be fun. Before you call me a square, let me introduce an old friend of mine. His name is Speak and Spell.
Speak and Spell made learning fun as a kid and I cherished mine. I brought it with me on trips and played with it for a decent amount of years growing up. Again – I’m not saying that I’m a world-champion speller but growing up, I knew how important it was to be able to know when “I” came before “E”. Speak and Spell also had a lot of fun games, like “Say It” and “Mystery Letter”, which, unfortunately aren’t represented on this online version I found. Just hearing that robot voice takes me back.
I could argue that good spelling is actually a sport – I’m sure all of you have at least caught a small clip of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. In 2002, the movie Spellbound came out, which documented eight Scripps competitors in 1999. I was so moved by the intelligence of these kids that I actually own the DVD. See? Spelling is awesome.
Granted, some of us just aren’t natural spellers – or have a small handful of words that constantly get misspelled (Embarrassingly, I always misspell “embarrassing”). Here are some tips, if it’s something you want to brush up on. After all, good spelling is a virtue in every profession and with every class you take.
1. Scrabble, Words With Friends, or any other game that will grant you massive points for wordplay. Again – spelling can be fun! (Just try not to cheat. That defeats both purposes.)
2. Try to lay off of acronyms. We’ve all used them, but let’s face it. How many times have you actually laughed out loud? Or ROTFLMAO? I have yet to witness this act in person. By breaking the constant use of acronyms and shortcuts, you can get to your point more swiftly. Added bonus – the use of a simple “K” in a text can really be misleading. Not only can it come off as being snarky and insincere, if someone asks you if you want to catch the 7:30 showing of a movie instead of a 9:30, a “K” response would read to me as, “Are they upset that I changed things around?” “Okay, sounds good!” is the response you should be sending.
3. Read More. This is a tip that I don’t utilize as much as I should, but reading more books – as opposed to celebrity tabloids – will enhance your writing. If you’re not too motivated to pick up a book, try to set personal goals for yourself or enlist the help of friends to start up a book club.
4. Always Proofread. When you write something important, take the time to glance it over a few times before submitting it. It’s not a weak move to have someone else read it over as well – after all, while spellcheck is an amazing technology, it won’t catch “to” when you meant “two”.
As mentioned before, your resume should be flawless. This is the one document that will determine whether or not a future employer will want to schedule a meeting with you, which is when they’ll realize how fabulous you are. Even if the job might not be Administrative, if your resume is riddled with typos, one might think, “If they were so hasty to submit this, how hasty will they be in making sure the job gets done correctly?”
5. When In Doubt, Dictionary.Com Is Your Friend. Thank to the Internet, I’m sure dictionary sales have tanked. Choose a reputable source, and remember that it’ll take two seconds to find what you’re looking for. Dictionary.com has a “Word of the Day” feature, which is oddly fun for us word nerds.
6. Cutesy Misspellings Have To Go. Back when I was younger, I really thought that “kewl” was a really neat way of writing “cool”. Now, it makes me cringe. If you have any bad word-habits similar to this, you should work on breaking them. Even if it’s a private joke that you swear won’t go outside the joke-boundary, you might let it slip someday. Similarly to people who proclaim “LOL” in actual, non-text conversation.
While you shouldn’t be kicking yourself over a typo or two, writing helps establish your voice – and you don’t want your voice to be misrepresented.