I feel sure you’ve heard this before.

Proofread your work. And your resume. And your cover letter. And your email. And your blog. And your online portfolio.

Since high school, or even before, people have been telling you and you have been…spell checking.

Sometimes. Spell check is not enough.

The power of proofreading is a negative power. Typographical errors, misspellings, and grammatical mistakes suck the potential right out of an otherwise promising candidate.  Instead, they leave your resume a crushed ball in someone’s trash can.

Picture this: You’re a marketing pro looking for work and see a posting for the perfect role in the perfect place for the perfect salary.  You have all the experience and education the job requires, and you excitedly attach your resume to an email with a little note of introduction.  You click “Send” without another thought.  A couple of days later you decide to use that introduction as the start of another email cover letter, only to discover that you spelled the hiring manager’s name wrong.  Spell check won’t catch that one!

How about this?  A hiring manager has decided to take a look at a web designer’s online portfolio to see if she thinks his aesthetic will work for her company.  She clicks on the link he has provided and finds herself on his beautifully designed homepage.  It boasts evocative photographs and a clear user interface.

But one of his menu items reads: “Web Content Management.”

What does that make her think?

Did his resume and work say “attention to detail?”  Not so much.

76% of recruiters in a survey about typos said that mistakes would cause them to take a candidate out of the running for an interview.

Do you really want 76% of hiring managers throwing out your resume because of a typo?   I don’t like those odds!

What is the secret?

Proofread. Proofread again. Have your mother proofread. Your spouse. Heck, your kid (I’ve been proofreading my father’s academic papers since I was 8). Put as many eyeballs on your materials as you have friends you trust.  And a couple after that.

In this uncertain job market, you don’t have any wiggle room.  This one is easy to fix. Fix it!

Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative