Ask a Recruiter: Does one typo on my resume put me out of the race for a job opportunity?


At my recruitment agency, The Bagg Group, we know that typos happen, at least an occasional typo can happen. And we won’t delete your resume because of one misspelled word. But many companies might. According to a British study, a staffing agency instantly trashed 94% of 450 resumes because of either spelling mistakes, poor grammar, or clumsy language.

It’s not unusual for human resource professionals to conclude one of three unflattering things about you when they spot an error.

  • They think you can’t spell,
  • They think you don’t know how to use spell check,
  • They think you can’t proofread a simple document.

The reality is spell check is not fail proof. Let’s say you accidentally type boast instead of boost when writing of an increase in sales. Spell check won’t save you. And when it comes to the word ‘their,’ you’re on your own. Don’t expect to be beeped if you were meant to spell the word as ‘there’ or ‘they’re.’

So knowing this, you print out your document and you read it carefully. Or so you think. Professional proof-readers know that our eyes can deceive us. Often we see what we expect to see, and not what really is.

I asked the professionals for some solutions for you. Here’s what they suggest to make sure your resume doesn’t get trashed for a tipo, I mean typo.

  • Wait at least an hour, if possible, after typing your work before proofreading it. That gives your brain a chance to read it as if for the first time.
  • Take a break from thinking about your resume and covering letter before you re-read them. The idea is to ensure that when you review, you’re not reading from memory. 
  • To help you see the text with fresh eyes, read paragraphs out of order once or twice. Read the bottom first, and the middle paragraph second.
  • Ideally, have someone else also proofread your documents.
  • Read your printed resume and covering letter with a pen in hand. Cross out each word after you read it. This forces you to examine the text one word at a time. It’s tedious, but it’s effective.

As a final word of advice. Once you feel you have polished your resume, it can be tough to revisit it. But do re-read it after a week, and after a month. It’s a living document, something that can always be updated and like us all, improved with time.

For some more proofreading tips, check out the Online Writing Lab.

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