First, Just Get the Basics Down

June 15, 2009

I recently wrote a post that referenced a post over at PR Squared entitled “First, Be Flawless”.

The author got it right on with this line:

First of all, those clever notes seem to contain more than their fair share of typos. If I see a typo on a resume or cover letter, I immediately discard it. I don’t care about your qualifications if you send me a letter with typos in it.

On this point, I’m in 100% agreement – it is not that hard to ensure that you proof-read your resume. It’s also not that hard to ensure that Word has grammar-checking turned on, and that any egregious grammatical errors are dealt with.

There’s a branch of economics known as Signal theory that deals with information flow. Signal theory is concerned with how information implies other information. As a (trite) example, the guy who drives an expensive car may be trying to convey information to the people around him about his social status, his job, etc.

In the case of the typo on a resume or a cover letter, it serves as a very effective signal to a potential employer. The information conveyed is: “this didn’t matter enough to me to put in the effort to run spell check”.

That is not the signal you ever want to send. So, get the basics down. Make sure that the structure of your resume is consistent. Everything is spelled correctly and in appropriate English sentences. Have at least one person proof-read your resume (and if you can’t find anyone, send it to me and I’ll proof-read it just to save the hiring manager the pain). And always, always, always make sure that you spell the hiring manager’s name right.

This stuff is simple, but if more people did it, I wouldn’t have to say it.

Posted by mmurray | Filed Under Resume 

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One Response to “First, Just Get the Basics Down”

  1. Network Security Blog » It’s the little things that get you noticed on June 15th, 2009 11:46 pm

    [...] at the Information Security Leaders they posted about resumes and how the little things may not seem important to you but may be the thing that looses you the [...]