5 Tips for Better Spelling and Improved Writing

5 Tips for Better Spell CheckingI admit it. There are times when even I make mistakes. When you write for a living and you write continually, often delivering multiple documents a day, you may miss something.

My process generally catches things because the client is an integral partner in the development of their documents but when we are both staring at documents throughout the process, we still can miss something.

Spellcheck is not a cure-all but it is still a big help. If you are not in the habit of running spell check on everything you write, start now. Many people save spell checking for official documents and routinely send emails or post on social media with less than stellar spelling.

Email systems have optional spell check. Make sure you use it. Check your spelling on Facebook. Some people post things from their phones and blame Autocorrect but in reality, you shouldn’t be going so quickly that you don’t have time to make sure you have the right words. Nothing is that critical to get out that you can’t take time to check spelling.

Double-check these 5 areas to improve your writing

  1. Capitalization – whether on LinkedIn or in an email, capital letters are important. For example: Personal loan specialist – if this is your job title, the correct method is Personal Loan Specialist. Each word should be capitalized. It is also not ok to not capitalize your name. Firstname Lastname should both be capitalized: John Smith.
  2. Misspellings – There are certain words that people misspell. Listed below are several frequent ones:
    • Cheif – Correct spelling is Chief. I ran across a LinkedIn profile where the title was Cheif Operating Officer. If you don’t know how to spell it, Google.
    • Manger – when you mean Manager. While Away in the Manager is one of my favorite Christmas carols, you don’t want to be writing to the Manager of Small Business and put him in a Manger.
    • Common traded words: Your when you mean you’re. Your is possessive and You’re is the contraction for you are.
  3. Use Punctuation – The rule in resumes is to be consistent. Most resumes have what would be considered fragment sentences in other writing. However, consensus in the resume industry is that you should do the same thing throughout the resume. If you start by putting a period at the end of bullets, consistently do so. I am one of those writers who always puts periods on the end of each bullet point.
  4. Use Words Correctly – Use of text messages and even Twitter has diluted much of our writing. In your emails and in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profiles, make sure that you are not slipping into using “u” for you or many of the other abbreviations that you may find common when you are texting. Even on Twitter, since it is a searchable medium, you should try to keep your sentences, sentences.
  5. Double-check – Even if you are sure your document is correct, before you hit send to a job application:
    • Walk away. If you can wait until the next day, you will be better off. If you can’t, at least walk away for an hour and come back to it.
    • Ask someone else to proofread. Another pair of eyes always makes things better.
    • Save as PDF and use the reader to read the document to you. I use Foxit PDF but both Foxit and Adobe Reader have a setting that will play back your document. I call her “the Lady.” Sometimes I have “the Lady” read the resume to the client and myself. Often my clients are not aware of this feature. Hearing even a mechanical voice read to you, helps.
    • Read Backwards. When we are in the mode of assuming we know what it says, start at the bottom of the page and read in reverse. You can catch things you miss that way.

No one is perfect

Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes. Just keep trying to improve.

Need help? While job search is often painful, I take the pain out of writing your resume and even make it fun with a personalized, interactive process. Hire me, Julie Walraven, Certified Master Resume Writer.  Click Here.

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