I've got my basic resumes ready, just waiting to be sent out. I've spent a lot of time writing them, rereading them, and rewriting them. I've always been a fanatic about language, but it's especially important now that it can have a direct effect on my future.
It's funny how often people get complacent about that sort of thing. Not just in resumes, and not just applicants. I've been reading lots of advice columns on job search websites, and, while I'm not going to call anyone out here, I'm amazed at how many of them are full of typos and grammatical errors, like using "affect" instead of "effect," or the dreaded "greengrocer's apostrophe." Just as bad is when people use expressions that they only think they understand. Things like "one in the same" (which should be "one and the same"), or (I've actually seen these) "flay minyawn" for "filet mignon" or "wallah" for "voila." Yes, the internet is full of poorly-spelled websites. But if you're putting yourself out there as a professional, you should take the time to do it right. These sorts of mistakes make it hard to take what is otherwise good advice seriously.
They also make it hard to take an otherwise ideal candidate seriously. The last thing I want when I send out a resume is to have a typo or an egregious grammatical error. Especially if, as in my case, I'm applying for work as a writer, or a proofreader, or a copy editor. I know if I were hiring, a resume with easily correctable errors would end up right in the round file.
I'm lucky. My wife is also a professional copy editor, so she gets the final pass on all of my resumes. If you haven't had someone proofread yours, you're taking a risk that could cost you any chance at an interview. Just make sure it's someone you can count on. A boss, a mentor... even a professional editor. And then, check it again yourself, and ask the person about any changes they made. That way, you learn. And discussing it with them should also help catch any errors they might have missed -- or made. Because even pros can make mistakes.
You know, when I started writing this blog, I didn't think of it as "advice to job seekers," because, well, I am a job seeker. I still don't really think of it that way. I'm not here to tell you how to get a job. I'm here to share what I'm doing to find a job; this blog is sort of "me, thinking out loud." If my thoughts help you, I'm glad to have been of assistance. And if any recruiters are out there, well, I hope you like what you're reading, because otherwise I'm in big trouble, aren't I?