December 17, 2015

Give The Gift That Keeps on Giving

By: Claire Kittle Dixon

keep-calm-and-spell-check-5Still struggling to find the perfect gift for that special someone this season? Debating between the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer and the Perfect Bacon Bowl?

Well, debate no more. I have the perfect holiday gift for all of your friends and loved ones — especially those on the job hunt. 

This year, give the gift of Spell Check.

Not only is it free and currently available for use in nearly every software program and app on earth, but it can also help that special someone avoid making a costly job search mistake. 

Case in point, consider this email I received recently from a friend who is an executive with a liberty-oriented legal organization. 

“I recently decided not to interview a Georgetown Law student for a law clerk position.  His writing sample, which he actually spelled “wring sample” in his cover email, was not up to our standards.  Of course the email error was just a typo, but it doesn’t make a very good impression about how interested someone is in a job when their cover email is that sloppy!  There was only one glaring typo in the five or so page writing sample, but again, this is a writing sample.  Am I wrong to think it should be pristine?  The writing sample was otherwise good enough that we probably would have gone ahead with an interview, but we really want to only bring in clerks who need to be edited for substance, not grammar, typos, etc.  

And I just saw another resume from someone who has a “Bacherlor” of Arts degree.  I’m not even sure it’s a typo, because she actually has two B.A.s from two different schools and spelled it “Bacherlor” both times.  Don’t these people know that spell check is their friend?”

Sigh. If I had a dime for every time a candidate eliminated himself from the running due to an easily preventable spelling error, I would not have to buy my wine in 1.5 liter bottles. 

Now, you might think only a Grinch would eliminate someone for one or two errors. But even sweet Cindy Lou Who will tell you that if simple mistakes don’t exclude a candidate, they certainly add a little tarnish to what could have otherwise been a perfect application. And when the competition is stiff, tarnish matters. 

A few of my favorite recent examples:

  • A communications candidate wrote with enthusiasm about her interest in our “comminucations director” opening
  • A policy candidate noted her “extensive backround in numbers” (Hey, at least she didn’t say it was in spelling!)
  • A journalist wrote about former “President Geoirge Bush” (Let’s call this “spelling strategery.“)

You get the idea. What’s mind-boggling about these little tragedies is that Spell Check is right there for the using! 

So, if you have a friend who doesn’t have (or doesn’t seem to notice) those red squiggly lines under words on the screen, please, please consider bestowing Spell Check upon him this holiday season.  Like the Jelly of the Month Club, it’s the gift that keeps on givng giving!


Claire Kittle Dixon is the Executive Director of Talent Market.