Here’s some career advice I’m sick of reading: "Don’t have typos in your resume." If you need to read that advice to know you shouldn’t have typos in your resume, then you are unemployable.
My friend Ben pointed out that when Colin Powell resigned, he typed his own letter at his home computer to keep the resignation a secret. But the White House sent the letter back because it had a typo. I wish the lesson here were that you always get a second chance. But no one will give your resume back to you to fix. So instead the lesson is that everyone makes typos. It’s human.
It is near impossible not to have a typo in a resume at some point because we’ve all read our resume five hundred times, and it’s ineffective to proofread something you’ve reread so much. On top of that, job hunting is often a repetitive, boring task, so it’s no surprise that people copy and paste and put the wrong employer name in the salutation all the time.
So there’s nothing you can do to fix a typo if the resume is sent. You look bad resending a resume to a hiring manager and saying "I had a typo in my resume." Most likely the person won’t notice the typo anyway unless it is in his name. Even if you are applying for a proofreader job, it’s not going to help to resend the resume. The job of a proofreader is to catch the error before he hits ‘send.’
A lot of polls say recruiters will dump a resume in the garbage if there’s one typo. I don’t believe it. First, all typos are not equal. But also, a salesperson with a typo is different than a technical writer with a typo. While a technical writer should be detail-oriented, the skills that make a good salesperson don’t necessarily make a good proofreader.
So if you send a resume with a typo, hope the recruiter doesn’t notice, and try not to do it again. Move on.
Why a Service Makes Sense
Which brings up a good reason to consider hiring a resume writing service. You can trust a top company not to have a typo. But there are a million other reasons to hire someone to help you with your resume. It’s a very important document and it’s very hard to write yourself because you’re too close to the information on many levels, not just in terms of spelling.
That said, I hired a top resume-writing company and then later made some changes in my resume and, of course, sent it out a couple of times with typos. Maybe it was a good thing, though. Because to be honest, if anyone ever hired me for being detail-oriented, they would be disappointed. It’s important to know your strengths. I know who to hire to compensate for my shortcomings. And now, years later, I know not to mess with what those experts come up with.
I’m also convinced that you have to hire someone to help you with your resume. This should not even be a conversation anymore. Would you cut your own bangs? If you were in sixth grade, yes, because the only thing you know about bangs in sixth grade is that they hang on your forehead. Once you learn that bangs need to be even, you go to someone who cuts even bangs. When you get older and you really understand the intricacies of hair, you realize that great bangs are uneven in a highly skilled way, and you don’t even have the right scissors. That’s when you pay a lot of money for someone to "do" your bangs.
If you think you can write your own resume, you’re in sixth grade. A resume is a complicated sales document and also a piece of direct mail. You know who runs to the resume writers the fastest? The people who write direct mail, because they understand the intricacies of resumes, just like a fashionista understands the intricacies of bangs – enough to know they can’t do it themselves. Other big customers of resume writers are career coaches – because they see so many terrible resumes from otherwise very impressive people, and the coaches don’t want to fall into that category themselves.
Your Money’s Worth
Please stop telling me that resume writers are too expensive. Sometimes I hear prices from resume writers and I think, who would trust their resume in the hands of someone who is so cheap? You should be looking for an expensive resume writer. Your resume, more than most things you buy, can earn its cost back ten times over.
Think of it this way: An effective resume doesn’t just get you a job. It gets you the job you want. A good resume writer can help you reposition yourself to shift careers, or make you look more high level than you have been in the past. Many good resume writers can also help you to talk about your resume in a way that will allow you to turn an interview into a job.
How can you deny this to yourself? And, by the way, don’t use your haircut money to pay for the resume. You need both.