Do Grammar and Spelling Errors Really Matter in Executive Job Search?

by Meg Guiseppi on March 14, 2017



I hope it goes without saying that typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in your job search personal marketing materials (LinkedIn profile, resume, biography, etc.) reflect badly on you as a candidate.

Such errors can actually tarnish your personal brand.

Surely, it’s no surprise that candidates demonstrating a strong grasp of the English language are more desirable. People assume they’ll be better communicators and leaders on the job.

But we all make mistakes. Prevalent typos like “manger” for “manager” plague all of us, and should be forgiven, right?

Well, maybe, but don’t count on it.

Diligent proofreading is a must.

All of your job search content should be error-free. Before posting your LinkedIn and other online profiles, and sending out your resume accompanied by email messages, look them over very carefully.

And don’t rely on Spell Check. The “manger” for “manager” flub will pass right through Spell Check. Have someone (or several people) review and help you edit the documents and online profile content. Pay close attention to typos in your contact info, for obvious reasons.

Be aware that grammatical errors can convey the wrong message and even make you look ridiculous. Watch for confusing misplaced modifiers and phrases that distort what you meant to say.

Spelling errors can damage your Personal SEO.

Here’s another thing you may not be aware of . . .

Beyond failing the human eyeball test, these errors can keep people from finding you online by mucking up your Personal SEO, a key element in today’s executive job search.

Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about the relevant keywords and phrases (or “hard” skills) you possess that recruiters and hiring managers most search online to source and assess candidates like you.

If these keywords are misspelled, search engines may not recognize them, making you invisible to the very people who can help you reach your career goals.

For example, I saw a LinkedIn professional headline with this phrase:

Vice President Channel and Allinaces

Imagine what people will think of him, if the first thing visible at the top of his profile contains a glaring misspelling. Just as important, search engines may not interpret the word “Allinaces” to mean “Alliances”.

Punctuation errors can also be a problem.

When using formatting enhancements, such as pipes ( | ), slashes ( / ), bullets ( • ), asterisks ( * ), etc., be sure to leave a space before and after each one, so that each word or phrase is distinct and separate for search engines to recognize. For example, the following string on a LinkedIn profile headline is not good:

Enterprise Architecture|Risk Management|IT SOX Compliance

It should read:

Enterprise Architecture | Risk Management | IT SOX Compliance

When misspellings are a good thing.

This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a good idea to list at the bottom of your LinkedIn Summary section the most common misspellings or alternate spellings of your name, along with previous last names, if you’ve changed it over time (for instance, through marriage and/or divorce).

This helps search engines find your profile, even when people misspell your name in a search for you.

That said, otherwise keep your name consistent across all your online profiles and career documents, so that people assessing you will be able to differentiate you between others with the same or similar name.

More About Executive Job Search and Personal SEO

Are You Executive Job Search-Ready?

10 of the Worst Executive Job Search Email Mistakes

Look, I Found My Personal Brand Doppelganger!

Personal SEO in Executive Job Search: What’s in a Name?

How to Balance Personal Branding With Personal SEO

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