Are you REALLY sure of that spelling?

Are you REALLY sure of that spelling?

Do you know your spelling?

Since September, I have been watching the “Canadian Geese” fly in the skies through my office window. It has definitely been an educational experience. Initially, I reported that they were flying north on Twitter and Facebook and thought nothing of it until I said something to a paddling friend and he said, “you meant to say they were flying south, right?” Then that struck me and I watched more closely and reported when I saw them flying, yes, NORTH, on Twitter. I am in Wisconsin and this time of year they should be flying south.

Yesterday, Davina Haisell of Shades of Crimson, said this on Twitter:

“While on the seabus to the North Shore a flock of Canada Geese flew by. Beautiful. Made me smile. Thx Mother Nature.”

I responded by saying: “The question is… which way were the geese going???”

After more conversation, Davina again told me they were flying North. I made a smart remark about them being Canadian Geese, since I know she is from Canada. And said I was down here in Wisconsin, watching and all confused.

Dawn Bugni “overheard” our conversation on Twitter and she sent me a Direct Message (DM) to let me know that they are really Canada Geese, not Canadian. I had to look it up. I Googled and found this.

Wow! All these years, I thought those were “Canadian Geese.”

Check all your spelling & terms in your resume!

If I had been writing a resume for a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Biologist who was an expert on migratory patterns of Canada Geese, I would hope that he or she would have it right but I need to know the right term or research it.

Far from finding Dawn’s correction annoying, I am grateful for the new knowledge. As a professional resume writer, I write many resumes for people in fields I have to research. I need to know their terms and the correct spelling of those terms.

This year alone, I have written resumes for people in these professions:

  • Master Winemaker
  • Soil Conservationist
  • Customer Relationship Manager, online applications
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Vice President of Information Technology
  • Construction Project Manager and many more.

I need to understand the nuances of their specific terminology and I need to know how to spell their terms.

Software alone can be a challenge with all the unique spellings and capital letters in the middle of a resume such as “Adobe InDesign” and the odd terms like SOX or VOIP. Pharmaceutical sales with the drug and disease state terminology, such as Elidel, hypogonadism, or dyslipidemia, is a foreign language to me and I have to double-check, Google, and verify with my clients that I have it right.

One of the easiest ways to lose the opportunity for an interview is to send in a resume with misspellings or grammatical errors. Every reader isn’t going to be an English teacher but anyone hiring in their field will know if you misspelled their specific terminology.

When in doubt, Google, and make sure the source you are checking is a valid one. You don’t want to find out that you mistook a Canada Goose for a Canadian Goose, do you?


  1. Kimba Green on October 25, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Leave it to Dawn to correct you! She is the walking book of corrections! Her and her AP style guide! What are we going to do with her? Oh, what the heck she is handy to have around so I guess we should keep her!

    Yes, I do like having conversations with myself!

    Love to both of you!

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 6:35 am

      I love having a friend and colleague in Dawn that isn’t afraid to let me know. You probably don’t know, Kimba, but in 2009, when I was trying to deadline on a brochure for Wausau Whitewater, I asked Dawn to copy edit for me. Her thoughts were so valuable that I later hired her to copy edit the whole 60 page book for Wausau Whitewater. Even professional resume writers benefit from a second pair of eyes.

      We should keep her and she knows I appreciate her!

  2. Ed Han on October 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Julie, great way of contextualizing the point! I had always thought the same as you, to be honest.

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 6:37 am

      About geese? I think many people do. Everyone I know said it the wrong way and we didn’t know. Thanks for stopping by, Ed!

  3. Kimba Green on October 25, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Now I will be serious. One of the hardest things is getting the phrasing correct for each industry. Every area has a different way of referring to something. You really can’t assume. Google becomes your best friend than!

    I try very hard when speaking to people outside of my industry to not use acronyms so they know what I am speaking of.

    I can’t image writing resume for all these different industry as you do. Mind boggling!

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 6:42 am

      You are so right about acronyms, Kimba. I thought of that even when I spelled out Direct Message before saying DM. You and I (and Ed) know what a DM is but that doesn’t mean the world does. The standard way of making sure in a resume is to write out the term once and then use the abbreviation. Direct Message (DM) for example.

  4. Davina Haisell on October 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Fact-checking is so important when proofreading! You’ve just given a prime example of why; LOL. Thanks for the link, Julie; this has been fun. Good for Dawn for drawing this to your attention.

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Hi Davina, thank you for being part of the story. I am sure you teach this too as a creative writing coach. I thought about your background in journalism too as I wrote this post! Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Dawn Bugni on October 25, 2010 at 11:03 am


    Julie, only you can take a friendly direct message and turn it into a wonderful lesson in clear communication. Well done my dear.

    Kimba, I have a Gregg’s Reference Manual in addition to my AP Style Guide. I’m a rabid Googler if I can’t find what I need in those two books. And I’m not above asking reporters or other writers I follow on Twitter for help when all else fails.

    Leetspeak ( and texting short cuts are slowly degrading good English. Everything has its place, but there is no substitute for a well-turned, grammatically- correct phrase. In job search, it’s imperative to present professionally and in the correct industry vernacular — period.

    I still make mistakes (human is my most predominant trait :)), but I do make an effort (and drive the rest of you nuts doing it apparently. LOL)

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm

      You never drive me nuts, my friend! I doubt that I would have remembered this as a topic that I have not yet covered in the 200+ blog posts I’ve written. Getting sloppy or assuming you know how to spell or what the term is is never a good idea when you are writing but in your resume, it can make a huge difference. Thank you for being the reason I selected the topic!

  6. Yolanda Deloach on October 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Julie – I just thought I’d let you know that I pop on your site sometimes and enjoy what you write.

    • Julie Walraven on October 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      Yolanda, I love that! I had no clue and it makes me happy that someone local reads it too! SO I am taking a survey, my brother-in-law from Phoenix was clueless at dinner that they are Canada Geese not Canadian Geese, what do your children say?

  7. Master Resume Writer on October 26, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hi Julie,

    You’ve drawn up another visual that captures the essence, and nuances (one of my favorite words), of what we do as career writers. I especially like this line in regard to the multiplicity of professions for which you write:

    “I need to understand the nuances of their specific terminology and I need to know how to spell their terms.”

    So true, as this understanding helps us weave a unique and accurate translation within the vibrant fabric of our clients’ career promotional materials!

    As well, your gratitude in receiving the ‘new knowledge’ that Dawn imparted further reflects your desire for continuous improvement (a trait we ALL would be served well to mirror). It is nice (and a networking value) to have colleagues like Dawn and you eager to support and share knowledge.

    Thanks for another vivid post!


    • Julie Walraven on October 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

      Always a pleasure to have you visit, my friend! You should know by now that I love your word-weaving ways, you can propel a tweet better than anyone I know! Dawn is a continual teacher. It was Dawn that taught me to pay attention to the basic grammar mistake so many people make: it isn’t “over” 5 years of experience, it is “more than.” She can make an example stick in my head better than anyone I know.

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