5 Things Spell-Check Won’t Catch in Your Resume


With many big agencies receiving hundreds of resumes for every job opening, it’s safe to say that the PR scene is a competitive one. Candidates need some killer resume-writing skills to make the most from every time a recruiter decides to check their profiles. After all, a resume shows many things – your personality, attention to detail, professional approach and motivation. That’s why controlling the quality of your resume with a simple spell-check won’t be enough. Here are five good reasons why.

1. Spell-check won’t notice grammar errors

Spelling is just a part of the language game. You should never rely on spell-check to do all the work for you as far as resume proofreading is concerned. Remember that spell-check won’t underline a word if it exists in the English language – ‘public relations’ might mistakenly become ‘pubic relations’ and effectively ruin the first impression you make on the recruiter.

If you’re not sure about issues like punctuation or capitalization, look for answers online or have a professional scan your resume for mistakes. Trust me, it’s worth it.

2. Font choice

If you think it’s a good idea to use five different fonts and three different colors in your resume, you’re making a huge mistake. Sure, it will catch the attention of recruiters – but in a bad way. That’s not something that a spell-check will pick up, but every recruiter will.

3. Spell-check is blind to homophones

Another problematic issue are homophones – words that sound the same but have completely different meanings. If you write ‘weather’ instead of ‘whether’, a spell-check won’t notice your mistake and you’ll end up with a resume featuring an embarrassing error that questions your competences and qualifications.

How to deal with those? Try to read your resume again, but this time backwards. It will allow you to focus on each word separately. When reading your resume forwards, your brain will inevitably fill in the gaps and might miss misspelled words.

4. Bad style will be allowed

Horrible sentences that are ambiguous and hard to read will pass your spell-check. Bad quotations marks, multiple hyphens and redundancies are not something recruiters will appreciate when browsing your resume.

In fact, a spell-check is totally useless when it comes to language style. It won’t show you where your text needs clarity and where it could benefit from a little polishing. The only way to catch these little mistakes is by careful proofreading.

Top advice: have someone else read your resume. A pair of relaxed eyes is exactly what you need.

5. You’re not learning

Using a spell-check won’t allow you to learn from your mistakes. If you obsessively spell a word in a wrong way, prepare for a tragic situation once a spell-check is out of your reach – and believe me, it can happen (think of a Skype chat or texting with your boss).

All this is particularly relevant for those who are applying for a position where the standard level of writing proficiency is much higher than what they’re used to.

But that’s not all. Your handwriting might get sloppy as well – there’s no spell-check to let you know you’ve made a spelling mistake in a note you left for a colleague.

Writing a perfect resume isn’t a piece of cake, but it’s doable. As long as you pay close attention to detail and don’t completely rely on the spell-check tool integrated with your writing application, you’ll not only improve your writing skills, but also make a great first impression on every recruiter that gets to read your resume.

Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.

1 comment on this post.
  1. Danny Rubin:

    What a useful column!

    Great tips here, Tess. Those squiggly red lines catch a lot but not everything.

    Time and again, I see how people size us up based on writing skills. It’s remarkable why real world writing skills aren’t mandatory lessons at every high school and college.

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