Can You Look Past a Candidate’s Poor Grammar?
Does it really matter if a candidate has a typo or a grammar mistake on their resume?
Truth is … it does. Job seekers are looking for employment, and in order to get any job, they have to impress the recruiter and/or hiring manager first. Now, if they met with these people in person first, maybe it wouldn’t be a problem. However, most job seekers don’t meet their potential employers in person first; they meet them on paper: 90 percent of top companies use an applicant tracking system to find their candidates. This is why grammar issues on a resume cause a problem. Poorly edited resumes translate as poor communication skills, inattention to detail, and a lackluster desire for the job in the first place.
Inadequate Communication Skills
Unfortunately, many new job seekers lack a proper education in written communication. Gen-X and gen-Y candidates are all too familiar with texting shorthand, which hinders their ability to communicate professionally. This is a common belief among employers, although some hiring professionals feel that inadequate higher education is to blame for the lack of effective communication skills. The American Association of Colleges and Universities noted that more than 75 percent of employers want more emphasis on five key areas, which includes written and oral communication skills. Garry Cosnett, head of global equity communications at T. Rowe Price, says:
“It’s amazing, the frequent disconnect. These people who all did the very best at the best schools, probably since preschool, but they really have not developed their writing skills to the degree that they would have to to succeed in this organization … You can be the smartest person here, but if you can’t convince the portfolio managers to buy what you’re selling, you won’t be successful.”
“Its All in the Detales”
Yes, those typos were on purpose, and I bet they caught your attention. Seeing these mistakes on a resume would catch your attention, too — and not in a good way.
Although being “detail oriented” is not currently a favorite requirement among hiring professionals, it’s still an important attribute to have. Regardless of the term’s current worth, a candidate who can’t attend to the details in their own resume surely can’t pay attention to the minute features of a corporate project — at least, that’s the belief that resume mistakes spark. Troy Harrison (@Salesnuggets), president of SalesForce Solutions, says:
“You will receive resumes with misspellings, grammatical errors, and other detail mistakes that indicate a lack of attention to detail on the part of the candidate. If you see these, don’t make the hire; in fact, don’t interview. For a sales candidate, the most important sale they will ever make is the ‘sale’ that comes with a hiring offer; if the candidate can’t be detail oriented here, why would they be when dealing with your customers?”
They Applied for the Job; However …
Imagine this: A resume comes across your desk, and you begin to scan it for qualifications. In this detailed work history, you find several typos. One of the first questions that comes to mind is probably, Do they really want to work here? Peter Vogt, senior contributing writer at Monster, says to job seekers:
“Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: ‘This person can’t write,’ or ‘This person obviously doesn’t care.’”
The degree that grammatical errors on a resume affect a job offer should be directly dependent upon the position itself. For example: if a candidate with some resume mistakes is applying for a biomedical position, those mistakes may not be so crucial; on the other hand, a job seeker applying for a content or marketing position with grammatical problems in their resume should raise a red flag with the potential employer.
How does your organization view grammatical errors on resumes? Will they prevent a hiring manager from offering a candidate the job if they are otherwise qualified?
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