“Retards” – I mean, “regards”

The guy who signed an e-mail with “Retards, Matt” was surely mortified to discover that his single errant keystroke made the rounds of the Internet under the heading “Best Typo Ever?”

When I look back at my own written or edited material and find a typo, a little piece of me dies. (Maybe that’s just me? Yeah, that’s probably just me.)

Everyone has a different tolerance level. Adherence to spelling and punctuation runs the gamut from those who “could care less” to those who would write you off at the first transgression.

But it matters because we communicate with a lot of virtual strangers, and you never know where on the spectrum someone falls.

A survey released in July 2009 by North American staffing agency Accountemps found that three out of four (76%) executives considered one or two typos in a résumé enough to rule out a job applicant; 40% said it takes just one typo.

These are some real examples of errors made on résumés, applications and cover letters, according to www.resumania.com. (Visit the site for more hilarious examples, complete with snark-filled commentary.)

“Dear Sir or Madman”
“I’m attacking my résumé for you to review.”
“My work ethics are impeachable.”
“I have a bachelorette degree in computers.”
“County Hospital: Registration of patience.”
“I have many tears’ experience in sales.”
“Dynamic, solutions-oriented professional with over 20 years’ teaching experience in torturing.”
“I am anxious to use my exiting skills.”

So how do you avoid getting shuffled into the reject pile? I like these recommendations from Accountemps:

• Get help: enlist a friend or family member to proofread for you.
• Take a time-out: take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes.
• Print it: get a different look at the document in hard copy.
• Get a new perspective: read your résumé backwards.
• Read aloud: your ears might catch errors your eyes overlooked.

Typos in business communications could make you an Internet star, but they could also spell the death of your career.

Matt, if you’re out there, I send my regards.


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