I recently read an article written by the CEO of a company who said that she, on principal, won’t hire someone with a single typographical error in their resume or cover letter. Indeed, this company requires everyone who works there to take a mandatory grammar test. I was surprised by the internet discussion that followed the article. So many people found this zero-tolerance policy to be unduly harsh. One comment called it the “silliest, pettiest thing I’ve ever heard.” Others just thought that the policy was unfair. I disagree.
If you have a typographical error in your resume, your cover letter, your writing sample, then you’re not going to get the job. Note that last sentence. There was both “your” and “you’re” used properly. If you can’t figure out the proper use of those words, it’s also probably too late for you to use it’s/its properly, too. Even if you are a new lawyer, you’ve been exposed to grammar at least 11 years (I am assuming that 4 years of high school, 4 years of college and 3 years of law school gave you enough exposure to discount whatever you learned prior to 9th grade). If you haven’t noticed the difference between “to” and “too” in 11 years, you have poor attention to detail. What gives a firm any reason to think you will pay more attention when you work on their substantive legal work?
We see a lot of resumes, and so many have errors of one kind or another. How many of those attorneys took themselves out of contention for a job before they ever were seriously vetted on their merits? Perfection is not always possible in the real world because you never have an opportunity to control all of the variables. What you send to a potential employer is something that you have complete control over. Think about that before you submit your next resume or writing sample without proofreading it just one more time.