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You need a friend Part 3 - an Eye for detail

Frank Hutton

When was the last time you really checked an email before hitting send?

When did you last review the CV you've been using for the past 6 months?

When you updated your LinkedIn profile last month, did you check it for spelling?

I am now ready for an onslaught of comments and emails pointing out my typographical and grammatical errors and criticising my unintelligible, over-complicated and convoluted sentence structures which seem to ramble on without end (that last bit is a joke, of course).

If you did find something, I wouldn't be surprised, even though I do scour my posts for bloopers. In fact, it doesn't seem to matter how thoroughly you personally check your cover note, CV or LinkedIn profile etc. those annoying little mistakes still creep through unnoticed.

It's your human brain, you see. In its amazing helpfulness it fills in gaps, re-letters whole words and summarises what's there to aid your understanding (normally). It can't help but do it. Unfortunately, your blunders will be all too obvious to someone reading the information for the first time and those problems can be costly.

As a recruiter I lost count of the number of incorrect email addresses there were on CVs received via job boards.

I know a number of people who have sent me cover emails and letters extolling their eye for 'detial', CVs where the person seemed to have started their previous job in a different century and LinkedIn profiles where the information repeats itself due to the wonders of 'cut and paste'. Even more scarily, as a recruiter I lost count of the number of incorrect email addresses there were on CVs received via job boards.

These things are not a real measure of that person's abilities or job skills. However, in a crowded market, many selectors of talent use such things as a measure of commitment to the role, and ability to deliver a well-finished or high standard product or service. Ignoring whether they are justified or not, it is definitely reducing your chances of getting the role you want and there is an easy solution.

Just as your errors will be obvious to a potential employer, they will also be obvious to someone else reading your materials carefully. So share them with someone, if at all humanly possible, prior to sharing them with any one else.

Send that CV, cover note or LinkedIn update (write it in a doc before uploading) to at least one (more if you have them) trusted friend who is:

  1. Good at spelling and grammar
  2. Will be honest with you when something doesn't make sense
  3. Will actually read something thoroughly i.e. check contact details, find inconsistencies, know the difference between licence and license.

They might not be people you want to get stuck with in a corner at parties, but they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to finding that elusive typo error which is probably there but you won't spot in a million years.

Interestingly, a lot of people send me things to check. I wonder why...? Dinner party invites gratefully received.

So don't be shy and do yourself a favour. Get someone to double-check EVERYTHING. It's just good practice (different to practise which is the verb) and no-one will think you're crazy. They will be flattered you asked them to help, I promise.

Go prove me wrong.