Would you put your career in the hands of a machine?

“I before E except after C”
“Apostrophes are used to show possession or omission”

I remember learning these two punctuation rules amongst many others at school. I spent hours noting down all of the vagaries of the English language, knowing that I was going to need them to get ahead in life. Then Microsoft came along with the idea of not only helping you with your spelling, but your punctuation and grammar too.

In theory you will not need to remember all of your English lessons from school. Word (or the paperclip from the late 90’s) will make your document read like a Pulitzer Prize-winning article. So why do I see CVs and cover letters every day from people who can’t write a sentence without making fundamental spelling, grammatical or formatting errors?

I remember (when I were a lad…) you had to write covering letters by hand. I would have loved to have seen the errors in those days. And yet I still think that people wrote better in those pre-MS Word days than they do now. I think errors abound on CVs and covering letters because people think a machine will take care of everything for them. Can’t spell? Word will sort it out. Can’t write? Word will sort it out.

Why are we leaving such important parts of our career and lives in the hands of machines? If you are sending the same CV to multiple vacancies then why do people not check it over and then check it over again and then get someone else to check it over? When they do not get an interview are they blaming it on ‘bad luck’ or ‘a tough job market’?

Sometimes I see errors on CVs and think they could be missed because it may be a typo or Word may have autocorrected but the number of times CVs are error strewn is incredible. I must go through over 50 CVs a day and at least 10 of those have multiple errors and a greater number of those have formatting errors where there isn’t even a consistent font all the way through.

You may read ten blogs today on how to secure that interview for the dream job. I have only one piece of advice for you: If you want to increase your chances of getting an interview make sure you go back to your schooldays and re-learn spelling and punctuation rules. Machines may be an everyday part of our lives but they will never be perfect.

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