I am frequently on the end of the gaze (I call it the zombie-zone-out-gaze) whenever I mention grammar or punctuation in my Year 10 Careers class.
I always wonder what happens between the English class and my lesson – students must lose the shift key along the corridor somewhere because most sentences or lists in their resume begin with a lower case!
AND i is ALWAYS I.
Are you kidding me? 11 years, 11 English teachers, countless numbers of lessons on using a capital at the start of a sentence, and they still choose a lowercase!
The zombie-zone-out-gaze doesn’t fool me one little bit, I can hear their subconscious thoughts:
"Miss, it is faster to type without capitals, full stops or comma's AND the computer should have fixed it anyway, stoopid computer!"
Ah yes, blame technology, the effort to switch between lower and upper is obviously too taxing.
Let me make it crystal clear: The increasing reliance on technology to ‘fix’ mistakes is a teen habit which can rub employers up the wrong way!
Absolutely, the majority of my students KNOW that a capital letter starts a sentence, and an ‘i’ is an ‘I’, and a few will have the decency to look sheepish when I point out their lack of capitalisation. Hello, they 100% know that their English skills are up to speed and yet they opt for the type-it-quick-and-don’t-bother-to-check-it method!
Gah! I could slap someone, but it's not legal!
And don’t get me started on commas or full stops!
Does it REALLY matter….?
As a cranky careers counsellor, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that for every mistake on your resume, you are reducing your chances of being invited in for a job interview… your resume will just end up in the recycle bin.
Let’s consider this:
- your resume will be one of the most important pieces of writing you will take with you when you leave school.
- you will need this document up to 12 times (or more) in your future.
Therefore, you need to get it RIGHT the first time, and every time thereafter.
Put yourself in THEIR shoes…
Let’s think about the people you are sending your resume to…. The ones who are going to read YOUR words…
Employers are old people (comparative to teens). They think about and feel totally different towards the written word.
Some employers have memories of having their knuckles whacked by a ruler, others recall sitting (dunce hat on head) in the corner of the classroom – all because they forgot a capital or full stop (or two).
These are painful and vivid memories connected to grammar and English.
OK, this is a bit OTT (over the top), but what is ninety-eight and three-quarters percent true is that the majority of employers have the ability to scan (read) a document and quickly guesstimate the number of grammatical errors.
Your mistakes stand out to them like pus-filled-sores, because ‘back in the day’ their school taught them great proofreading skills – or it is highly likely that they have been selected for this task because of their great reading skills.
AND, if it’s an online application, the computer WILL pick up your errors, and probably SCORE your grammatical/spelling bloopers.
Oh look, no Capital! Oh my, forgot a full stop.
Yeah, I know…
A missing capital and full stop is hardly an earth-shattering-stop-the-world-revolving incident I grant you that… and you may be lucky and the employer will choose to overlook one or two mistakes….. But, you can’t bet your iPod on this! Oh, wait, you aren’t old enough to bet!
Here are the rules for a great resume.
- Never-ever be lackadaisical (lazy) when writing your resume.
- Proofread (on screen) & fix mistakes – do this 3 times
- PRINT and proofread – fix mistakes – do this 3 times
- ASK somebody else to proofread (at any stage during point 2 or 3)
- Ask somebody else to read your final draft.
- See point 1.
Not good at English?
You don’t have to be good at English (although it does help!). Nope, you can be mediocre at English, but still have a humming resume.
The KEY is being confident enough to ASK people to HELP you with your resume. Enlist their help with your English, layout, spelling, words and grammar.
Might I point out the obvious here, you are very lucky to be in a place (school) where there are people (teachers) who are keen to see you do well. Enlist their help!
No excuse! Make your resume the BOMB by following my tips!