proof·read – To read copy or proof for purposes of error detection and correction. (Source: Online free dictionary definition)

At Agilec, we can’t stress this enough – the act of proofreading is one that job seekers should take very seriously.

As a manager involved in recruitment, I can’t help but see job seekers who are not taking the time to proofread. Proofreading is the moment between frantically tailoring a cover letter and resume to a particular job posting and hitting “send” on the email. That moment, that ever-so-important step, could be the difference between catching a mistake before the email goes out, or deep frustration and regret after the email has already landed in the hiring manager’s email box. Once a mistake is out there, there is no changing it or the possible outcome!

One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make, which almost always has a negative outcome, is recycling cover letters and forgetting to change the salutation or the company name. If I have to ask the question “Was this application intended for me or our company?” it’s game over.

A cover letter with spelling and grammatical errors may be overlooked by some recruiters, but the majority will ‘read’ into errors that the applicant lacks any attention to detail and even professionalism. That negative impression is hard to overcome, and can be a defining factor in screening a worthy applicant out. It is vital to ensure cover letters and resumes are error-free.

It is often said that job searching is like having a full-time job. Along this thinking, a job seeker can mirror on-the-job behaviors such as using spell-check for reports, demonstrating a good attention to detail, strong organization and time-management skills all when applying to jobs. Job seekers can treat the cover letter and resume as a reflection of their professionalism, writing skills and ability to compose and submit reports.

The expression “slow down to speed up” also comes to mind in this situation because job seekers can slow down in responding to a fresh job posting by taking a few precious moments to read over their application to ensure what they send is of good quality. Those who feel they aren’t able to edit their own work, could have another, such as a job coach, read over their applications before submitting. Over time, the act of proofreading will likely shorten the length of time to employment!

A cover letter and resume are tools used to prove an applicant’s suitability for the position. It is vital that job seekers take a breath, step back and proofread before hitting the send button on that all important email.

Lisa Ambaye, Guest Blogger for Agilec

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