It’s the Little Things

4323440560_4c6a9f7c7c_mIn our last post, we discussed one small thing that recruiters appreciate – adding a signature block to all your emails. Now, we’re gonna talk about a few more little steps that will go a long way in endearing you to connections and potential employers. Check it out:

1. Proofread slowly:
The brain can be a little bit too helpful sometimes. For example, when I’m proofreading something, I might get to a place where I’ve left out an ‘a’ or a ‘the’ or some other tiny little word, and my brain will jump in there and fill it in for me, because it knows what I’m trying to say. That’s why it’s important to read all of your materials very carefully, so you can catch the little stuff. This’ll also help you catch misused homophones: words that sound the same but are spelled differently.

2. Check your grammar:
Is that ‘it’s’ supposed to be ‘its’? Is that ‘who’ supposed to be ‘whom’? Is that ‘their’ supposed to be a ‘his/her’? Look for all those annoying little things that sound fine but are grammatically incorrect. SIDE NOTE: certain jobs – like social media marketing and blogging, for example – rely on your ability to write colloquially, and therefore allow for a little bit more rule breaking. Still, you want to be careful.

3. Don’t blindly trust spellcheck:
I’ll often be reading through something I wrote when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, there’s a word in there that doesn’t fit at all. I’ll be confused. Is it some sort of message? Did I go into a trance and channel some otherworldly entity for just one word? No. What I did was misspell something, see the red squiggles, right click, and blindly choose the top spelling suggestion without even reading it. Don’t be like me. Take your time and make sure you get what you need from spellcheck.

4. Be consistent:
Here’s a question: should each detail listed under a position on your resume end with a period? I say it doesn’t matter… as long as you’re consistent throughout the entire resume. That means no periods or periods everywhere. Sometimes, though, it’s not up to you. For example, consider the company’s name. Is there a ‘the’ in there? Is it ‘the’ or ‘The’? Is there an ‘and’? Or is there an ‘And’? Or better yet, is there an ‘&’? You should give the same kind of scrutiny to the title of the position you’re applying for or the title of the connection you’re reaching out to. (And yes, I know I ended that last sentence with a preposition, but like I said before, you don’t have to go too heavy on the grammar when you’re blogging.)

5. Have someone else read it:
the hardest person to proofread is you. So after you’ve read your cover letter, resume, or email over a few times, give it to someone else. A fresh pair of eyes will see things that you missed entirely.

6. Keep updating: another thing that’ll help you see things you might’ve missed is time. So pull out some of your cover letters and resumes once in a while and give them a quick read through. You’re not looking for mistakes necessarily, just things that can be tightened – a sentence that could be trimmed here, a better word there, that sort of thing.

Those are a few of our tips to keep your materials in tip-top shape. If you’ve got any of your own, feel free to share them in the comments.

(photo by Flickr user Billy Brown used under a Creative Commons License.)

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