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Resume Deli Challenge: There are five commonly misspelled words in this blog post that spell check won’t catch…can you?

Comedian Bill Burr jokes: You ever spell a word so badly that even spell check can’t come up with any suggestions? (Spell check) I’ve got all the words right here…and yours doesn’t look like any of them!

Called out on an error by spell check, Jim Gaffigan, another comedian, snaps back: Duh! That’s someone’s name, spell check! You’re so dumb…I was right and you were wrong!

Alas, this is where spelling mistakes seize to be funny. For even a single gaffe on your resume, cover letter, thank-you note, portfolio, web site, blog site, etc. will make you, too, a joker.

Resume Deli evaluates hundreds of resumes per year. When we point out spelling mistakes the response is usually, “What’s the big deal? It’s just one small mistake…” Oh, if only I had the proverbial nickel for every time I herd someone say that!

Fun Fact! 72% of job applicants who claim “high attention to detail” on their resumes also have at least one spelling or grammar mistake on these very documents (based on a sampling of 300 resumes submitted to Resume Deli).

Somewhere between second grade and the water cooler…between No. 2 pencils and handhelds…we became a society that can’t spell worth a dam. One of the major reasons for this development is that of pure laziness. (You mean I have to review everything I write? Jeez, that seems like a lot of work.) Another is our penchant for texting, which with all its acronyms and shorthand (OMG!) has left recruiters and employers wondering AYSOS (are you stupid or something)?

Like it or not, proper spelling and grammar count when you are trying to land a job. Here are several tips to keep in mind when working on your resume:

Tip #1: Don’t abbreviate

Removing the bowels from a word and adding a period at its end doesn’t constitute an abbreviation! Mngr. is not an abbreviation for Manager or anything else as far as I’m aware.

Tip #2: Prove that you’re detail-oriented

When a job description calls for a candidate with “strong attention to detail,” that doesn’t mean you should write “detail-oriented” in the summary section of your resume. It means that all of your work product—beginning with your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile—needs to be well-written, without spelling or other mistakes…especially if you’re targeting a position that requires strong writing skills.

Tip #3: KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!)

In the phrase, “Managed Walgreens’s Pharmacy Department,” “Walgreens’s” is correctly spelled. Walgreens is a company name. It’s a singular entity and so the possessive form requires an apostrophe followed by an “s” even though the word Walgreens already ends with an “s”. It’s a well-established language rule. But that’s not the point. It doesn’t matter if “Walgreens’s” is correct. It looks horrifyingly wrong! My guess is that there are about 25 people on the planet who know that Walgreens’s (the possessive) is correctly spelled. Bottom line: don’t send out a resume or cover letter with words that look misspelled, even if they’re not. It’s just not worth it.

An even simpler example: The word “centre” can be spelled as such (origin: Great Britain), although “center” is the more common spelling in the U.S. Play the odds and use the more familiar form. Your resume isn’t the place to demo your avant guard language skills.

Tip #4: Don’t use the word “liaison”

Liaison is one of the outcast words in the dictionary. No one knows how to spell it. And even if you manage to spell it correctly, chances are you’re still going to misuse it (liaison; liaison to; liaison with…). You can’t win here. Just avoid it.

Tip #5: Trust spell check

In fact, set your word processor to automatically correct words as you type.

Tip #6: Don’t trust spell check

Spell check is like a new employee. It wants to make contributions and fix things even where nothing’s broken. Spell check alters proper names and fails to acknowledge that some words have come into existence after it was programmed. Also, spell check often overlooks words that are spelled correctly, though misused in context; and no employer wants to read about your work in pubic affairs (OK…spell-check caught this one).

Tip #7: Find friends who spell better than you do

Remember when you were a kid and your next-door neighbor Billy (that geek) used to crush you in two-player Speak ‘n Spell? You hated Billy, right? Well, let bygones be bygones, because now you need him! Send your resume and cover letter to a trusted friend…or two…and have them proof-read your documents. Instruct them to be brutal.

Tip #8: Consider a professional resume-writing service

Though, unlike your friends, we will charge a fee to rewrite your resume, you can be more confident about the final product!