Most jobseekers know that an error on your resume will prevent you from becoming a serious candidate for a job. It’s pretty easy to make sure your resume is immaculate; it’s only one document. But for every resume you send out, you probably send dozens of emails and other electronic correspondence. I receive messages from jobseekers every day, and almost every email contains some sort of typo. So many, in fact, that when I receive a clean and error-free message, it makes a dramatic impact on me. Fair or not, my first reaction is “Look – a real grownup professional.”
I expect messages with no punctuation and poor spelling from a teenaged texter. And I know that the standard for email has been set much lower than those for formal cover letters. But first impressions count, and an email inquiring about a job that contains grammatical and spelling mistakes is jarring. It looks less than professional, and in this economy, no one can afford to give the competition an edge. As far as I know, every email system has a function for spell check. In most cases, spell check can be set as an automatic function before email goes out.
Of course, spell check isn’t foolproof; we’ve all seen the funny results of wrong words spelled correctly. (“I am a fat and accurate typist and halve my own computer.”) But not rereading an important message to a stranger about something as important as your career = failure.
Take the time to check your spelling and grammar. When you send an illiterate message, it’s like wearing white socks with your black interview suit. All a recruiter can think about is the white socks.