To Tell or Not To Tell….I Spy a TYPO in Your Resume

typo face

Oh….that is a question. Tell the candidate? Don’t tell the candidate?

I mean really, attention to detail is key in most jobs. Especially anything executive level. Certainly anything administrative. And good grief, if it’s accounting or finance, typos are verboten.

But where is there slack? Do you excuse typos in a LinkedIn profile? Maybe not. Especially if you’re looking for a Digital Media professional. I mean their profiles should be perfect, yes?

I’m so tempted to send a quick message to people when I see a typo in their LinkedIn profile. I’m not sure everyone is as open minded as myself and I wonder how many opportunities have skipped by because your profile is the most forward facing image of you online in word form.

I struggle with this. It happens all day. To good people. Super ideal candidates that have spot on experience, hit the salary range and are personable to boot.

I’m very forgiving of LinkedIn profiles, especially if I think the person is not on the hunt.  You can tell, they created a skeletal profile merely to place their stake in the LinkedIn sand.  But there are some profiles that are super detailed and resume like and those, well those I wonder.

But ultimately we are human. All of us, no perfect people here. If I were judged on the text messages I send on a daily basis, well I certainly wouldn’t be writing anything for anyone. Bottom line, I won’t turn your resume over to a hiring manager with a typo I can see. If I do, the hiring manager is going to think I don’t have attention to detail and that won’t do.  Not only will I not turn it over, I’m going to tell you I can see the typo. That’s a horrifying conversation for the candidate, I can feel them blushing over the phone.  And there’s always disbelief, first because there’s a typo and then because I told them. But it is so much better to tell them, to give them a chance to fix their often minuscule error, versus ditching them from an opportunity.

Whenever I help anyone with a resume, I spell check it.  I use Grammarly.  I make two other people read it.  Then I read it aloud.  As silly as that sounds reading anything aloud usually points out grammatical errors and spelling errors, I find I pay better attention to detail. I read everything important aloud before I press send, it’s worth the 2 minutes of feeling ridiculous to know your message is correct.

So I tell on the typo. And I make the candidate fix it. I don’t fix it. At that point I expect the candidate to go through their resume…profile…whatever…with a fine tooth comb. Now I expect perfection.  Sometimes those resumes come back perfect, and sometimes they still come back with typos and grammatical errors.  You can guess who ultimately moves forward.


Note: The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Marriott International.

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Kelly Dingee
Kelly Dingee is a Senior Manager, Global Talent Acquisition for Marriott International. She has extensive sourcing experience having worked for Staffing Advisors (retained search), AIRS (training!) and Thales Communications, Inc., (cleared/telecom) and got her start in the profession while a full life cycle recruiter at Acterna (now known as Viavi). Lucky for Kelly, she had a boss who could see the potential of sourcing candidates from the web, and in 1998, she stepped into a newly created sourcing role. No truth to the rumor that she has a side business to help you push your resume to the top of Google search results…


  1. Julie Harrison says:

    Oh, yes, I think think “tell” is the way to go! It’s like someone with spinach in their teeth … even the most careful person can get caught out once in a while. It’s a duty to quietly let someone know.

  2. Miranda Fountain says:

    From a job seeker perspective, I definitely agree with telling the candidate about the error. I am always looking to improve and grow personally as well as professionally and I appreciate feedback (negative or positive) from recruiters when going through the screening/interviewing process. Great post!

  3. BrendaC says:

    Reading something back to yourself OUT LOUD is the absolute best way to edit any written document. I tell this to everyone, from my children to my colleagues. If your eyes don’t catch it, your ears will – from grammatical errors, to run on sentences and over used words. If its embarrassing, close the door, or print it out and go somewhere private. But it is always worth the trouble in the end.

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