We know you’re aware you are supposed to pay attention to grammar in your day-to-day communications, but one especially critical area to take great grammatical care is during the job search. Incorrect grammar can impact how you are perceived as a competent professional, and the slightest grammar faux pas might actually cost you the job. Here are some areas that you should pay special grammatical attention to:
Resumes and Cover Letters
Resumes and cover letters are designed with the primary purpose of highlighting your experience and strengths while making you stand out from the rest of the applicants. At this stage in the job search process, you might be nothing BUT this piece of paper to a hiring manager, so the impression it makes is crucial. When a hiring manager is drowning under a stack of resumes, it is essential to whittle it down a bit. Grammar tends to be one of those things managers use to scale down the potential applicants, and that “their/there” error might have just weeded your resume into the recycling bin.
If you’re lucky enough where your resume leads to further conversations with a manager over email, don’t ruin it with bad grammar. Online conversations lend themselves to an informal style, but save the “lols” and “hahas” for emails with your friends. Treat each email as an opportunity to further sell yourself as a professional. It doesn’t have to be as formal as a business letter, but make sure your emails are grammatically correct. Don’t just trust spell check; recruit a review from a friend if you need a second pair of eyes.
Thank You Letters
When crafting a handwritten thank you note after an interview (which you should!), it can be easy to make a mistake when you don’t have those red squiggly lines telling you something is wrong. After a really great interview, a thoughtful, well-written thank you note can be just what you need to seal the deal. One riddled with grammatical errors could have the opposite effect.
You might think your LinkedIn profile is in the safe zone for grammar since it is not part of a direct conversation between you and a hiring manager. However, when you are on the job hunt, everything surrounding your personal brand, including online profiles, is open to scrutiny from potential employers. Managers often times search for such profiles to get a better idea of who their candidates are beyond what they have crafted on a piece of paper. Make sure these profiles are just as polished as your resume!
Again, grammar plays a huge role in establishing credibility as a professional. Make sure bad grammar doesn’t sabotage your job prospects!