After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Don’t mess this pest, or….............. Don't miss this post


Having broking sales records and exceeded sales quotas in my previous positions, I am an ideal candidate …

This was the first line of a correspondence I received recently.  I did not read the second line.

As a headhunter who is listed in a variety of executive search databases, I receive letters and e-mails from many strangers.  I try to read all of my mail with an eye toward helping anyone I can help. But a correspondence containing a glaring mistake in spelling or grammar virtually always lands like a three-point shot in my wastebasket. Nothing but net.

The fact of the matter is, when the competition is tough, a small typo in any written communication can be the kiss of death. It will be assumed, rightly or wrongly, that someone who cannot produce quality work when trying to putting his/her best foot forward will not be able to produce quality work after being hired. 

Let me admit here to being somewhat detail-challenged myself. I have been known to make a spelling/grammar/typing error in a document.  Very little disturbs me more than discovering a mistake in an e-mail I have just sent to a client. Hence I always proofread my e-mails several times before clicking “Send.”   Hence my wife and I took the time to read our book at least 37* times before publication.  Hence I sometimes cannot believe I am posting blogs weekly** for public consumption. 

If you are hoping to land a new job, your resume and all correspondence with recruiters and potential employers must be 100% error-free.  So spend time reading and re-reading your letters and e-mails for spelling, grammar and tone. (Remember – your spell check program will not uncover every error: the dreaded “of/on/or/oh” problem.) If you are unsure about something you have written, have a friend or family member help you with editing. Check all your outgoing correspondence for accuracy of dates, recipients’ names, and company names and addresses.  Be sure the automatic signature attached to your e-mail contains the correct contact information.  All links must be functional.

It takes a little extra time, but careful proofreading is a necessity in your search for new employment.  Check and double-check your e-mails, cover letters, and resumes.  A great background portrayed in a resume riddled with errors is like a suit and tie with a foundation of worn gym shoes.

*Do not advise if you find mistakes in the book.
**Do not advise if you find mistakes in this blog.

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