typo face

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

Kelly Dingee Coaching, Communication, Job Seeker Advice, Kelly Dingee, Profiles, Recruiting, Resumes, Selection, Social Media and Talent, Social Network Analysis, Social Networking, Social Recruiting, Sourcing, Talent Acquisition 3 Comments

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 at the executive level, and 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 slipped 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 even do this.

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, but I’m also 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.

You give them a chance to fix their often minuscule error, versus excluding 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, or 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.

Kelly Dingee

Kelly is an HR Pro focused on recruiting Temp and Executive Talent in the Hospitality Industry and a 10 year writing veteran on FOT.

Comments 3

  1. I’m glad you tell them! And I agree that if you’re a recruiter you’re protecting your own reputation as well. But I never eliminate candidates for simple typos. As you say, everyone makes them. The standard isn’t perfection, and shouldn’t be. And in this historically tight labor market, are you really going to let go of an otherwise great candidate who can’t spell their way out of a paper bag when “spellcheck” exists?

    I get the standard arguments about attention to detail, putting your best foot forward, etc. But if I wouldn’t want them spending hours on the job poring over everything they write until it’s absolutely perfect (which I rarely do), why would I eliminate candidates just because they didn’t do that on their resume?

    1. Agree with Kim. If it’s glaring, I’ll say something. If it is a forgotten ‘s’ on a plural or something only a newspaper editor would notice, I ignore.

      Something I get more often than a glaring typo is an Objective statement with the incorrect position mentioned. This is why I advise candidates to leave it out of their resumes, or make it non-position specific.

  2. Remember applying with hard copy resumes? When I worked at Kinko’s in the late 90’s, people would come in and make 10 copies on pretty paper & buy the matching envelopes. I told every single customer when I saw a typo and every single time received a huge thank you (and not just because I saved them $3.00 on copies).

    As an HR Manager now, I will tell applicants when I see a typo on an otherwise stellar resume. If it’s a whole mess of errors, not a chance I have that kind of time 🙂

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