My mother was an English teacher. Growing up in our house involved lots of mini-grammar lessons, Oxford commas, and endless streams of red ink on papers. It might sound torturous for a kid, but even then I realized how valuable the guidance was.

Mom Grading Papers Old School 5This is probably why I cringe when I receive a cover letter or résumé with an error. Or two. Or three.

The errors that could have been avoided by using Spell-Check are the ones that drive me to drink. Is it possible there are computers on earth not equipped with this handy-dandy feature? Surely not. So if a person has Spell-Check but isn’t using it, what’s the major malfunction?

Other mistakes result from being careless and failing to proofread. And those, my friends, will make you cry….and laugh. Some of my recent favorites:

  • “I would like to help advance free-market principals.”
  • “I have written on many other topics including defense, taxes, energy, and many other topics.”
  • “I am confident I will be a great asses to the organization.”

You get the idea. Laughter and tears aside, a sloppy cover letter or résumé can cost you a job. If I had a dime for every time a client told me he liked a candidate’s background but wouldn’t be pursuing him because the résumé/cover letter had mistakes in it, I’d have enough money to buy everyone in the free-market movement Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

Remember that Mom knows best: make sure to proofread the next thing you send into the public sphere.

Footnote: To this day, when my mother hears me tell my dog to “lay down,” she corrects me. “It’s lie down, honey.” Right, yes, I know that. Too bad my dog doesn’t.