It happens all the time.

You hit “Send” and just as the button goes click you see it–a mistake.  It’s so frustrating, but since it happens to all of us occasionally, even if we are careful proofreaders, it might help to know why we don’t see errors on the first–or second–or even third reading.

It happened to me just yesterday.  I had to send an email out to a large group of people and, although I read over the body of the email before I sent it, I neglected the Subject line.  Yikes!  No one has mentioned it yet, but someone will eventually.  Luckily, I’m a volunteer and so are my audience.  They are a pretty tolerant group.  But what if I had been sending out an email cover letter?  I would have to assume that I had made a fatal error.

Why does this happen?

Our brains are programmed to figure things out, not to find anomalies.  If we understand what is being communicated, our minds move on.  In fact, as long as the first and last letters of words are in the right place, our brains read them almost as quickly as if they were spelled correctly!

If you are spending hours–and you should be–tweaking your resume until it gets you every interview you are qualified for, you will become extremely familiar with what is on it, so familiar in fact that you probably will miss a small error in spelling or formatting when you think you are finished.

How can you avoid sending out materials with typos?

The best way to be sure there are no errors in your materials is to have other people read them before you send them out.  A trusted friend or colleague is a valuable tool in a job search for this as well as for interview preparation.  Be sure to run your resume under some eyes other than your own before you apply for that dream job.  If you have time, send a draft of your cover letter to someone with a good eye as well. Spell check is not enough!

At Artisan, we want your resume to always make it into the “Yes” pile and although thoughtful proofreading cannot ensure that you will, typographical errors can get you culled out before a hiring manager ever sees how perfect you are for the role they are trying to fill.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative