25 Reasons Not to Trust Spell-Check When Job Hunting

JobYou've probably pored (or is it poured?) over your resume and cover letter hundreds of times, fine-tuning them, updating them, making sure they're so perfect that even the most trained eye could find nary a mistake.

And you've heard it before, but it never hurts to hear it again: Don't. Misspell. Anything.

It's one of the first red flags that'll get your resume thrown into the trash instead of into the hands of your potential new boss.

And even with all the electronic advances we're making in the spelling department (good-bye Oxford English Dictionary print version), these words can still slip by spell-check, making you look like a complete idiot.

It's called spell-check, not grammar-check, for a reason.

Note: If you don't already know the differences between your & you're; and their & they're & there; and its & it's; and two & to & too, for all that's good and holy, please look them up.

Check out our list and feel free to add your own:


1. Pubic vs. public: This is my favorite one.

2. Manger vs. manager: Let's hope you don't confuse your boss for where the baby Jesus used to chill out.

3. Diffuse vs. defuse: Diffuse means to spread, as in diffuses the light. Defuse means to make less harmful, as in "defuse a crisis," or to defuse a bomb, which is important if you're applying for a bomb squad job.

4. Stationery vs. stationary: You exercise on a stationary bike. You print out your resume and cover letter on high-quality stationery.

5. Desperate vs. disparate: "My desperate ideas have always been embraced by my manger." Oy, spell-check won't catch those. See ya.

6. Loose vs. lose: Don't be a grammar "looser."

7. Allot vs. a lot: And please never write "alot," though your spell-check may be able to find that one.

8. Accept vs. expect vs. except: All three of them sound alike, and the last two look a lot alike, so be careful.

9. Fro vs. for: A lot of people just fly by these small words.

10. Preventive vs. preventative: Look at this example from TalkTalk: Preventive medicine regards vitamin C as an effective preventative against colds.

11. Site vs. sight vs. cite: Did you forget to cite your sources and then lose sight of your goals at your next job site?

12. I could of vs. I could have: Eek, this is not Twitter, folks -- have always wins.

13. Infamous vs. famous: Did you just have lunch with your infamous client? Meaning the worst kind of client ever? Infamous means not good. You don't want to say in your cover letter that the "infamous Mother Teresa" was one of your idols.

14. Flesh out vs. flush out: You can flesh out a great plan, while you flush out the insects from your baby's formula.

15. Access vs. assess: Assess your resume by accessing this post.

16. Definitely vs. defiantly: So many people still try to spell "definitely" with an "a" and get "defiantly" instead. Head. Meet. Wall.

17. Then vs. than: Perfect your resume, then apply for the job. It's better than sending one full of mistakes.

18. Lead vs. led: Colonel Mustard may be in the dining room with a lead pipe, but hopefully you led your team in sales last year.

19. Insure vs. ensure: You insure your car. A mistake-free resume ensures a shot at an interview.

20. Form vs. from: Again, always check even the most common and smallest of words!

21. Lay vs. lie: You lay down your paper. Hopefully you won't be lying down with your potential boss in your bed to get this job. Try to remember that "lay" needs a direct object.

This one needs a little bit more explanation though. The past tense of "lie" is "lay." I know, who exactly invented the English language?? You lay down on your bed yesterday. As for the past tense of "lay"? You laid those papers on your coworker's desk a week ago. Make sense?

22. Less vs. fewer: Yes, there is a difference. Check out Grammar Girl's take. All those signs in the grocery store? They should say "10 Items or Fewer."

23. Principle vs. principal: "My strong principals make me a great candidate." Nice to know you're so well acquainted with school leaders on steroids.

24. Farther vs. further: Use "farther" only for physical distance, "further" for everything else. And please don't type in "father" by accident. Trust me, you'll go so much further in life.

25. Alter vs. altar: You altered the course of your company's future. Then you went home and sacrificed a pig on your altar for dinner. You badass woman, you.


So, back to the first sentence of this post, is it "poured over" or "pored over"? Pored over means to read something carefully, while you use "pour" as in pouring yourself a margarita if you made it this far down the list. Feel free to pour me one too, thanks!

Okay, after all this seriousness, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Family Guy, said by the famous (or is it infamous?) Stewie, as he established his rules after becoming "President of the World":

"Any person who uses the words 'irregardless,' 'a-whole-nother,' or 'all-of-the-sudden' will be sent to a work camp."

Now go check your resume and make sure you didn't commit any of these grammar and spelling faux pas!

Did you know all of these? Which ones drive you nuts? Did I miss any (I'm sure I missed a ton)?


Image via bpsusf/Flickr

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