When I was just getting started in the Recruiting business, a very successful recruiter told me that one of his red flags was a typographical or grammatical error in a resume. His point was that a resume is the most important document a person uses to “sell” his/her skills, and he/she should make darn sure that there are no errors. My mentor told me that a lack of attention to detail on something as important as a resume often indicates an overall lack of attention to detail on the job.

I found a resume on a job board today, for example, where the job seeker meant to type “skillset,” but instead typed “skillets.” If he were looking to be hired as a cook at Denny’s, that might have been okay, but since he was looking for work as a Senior Developer, his skillet experience doesn’t quite fit. Although, now I’m craving an omelette.

But I digress… Lately, I have noticed typos in resumes that aren’t necessarily indicative of a lack of attention… Instead, they’re more likely a result of English being the job seeker’s second language. A good example of this kind of typo is one that I come across frequently: using “familiar in” instead of “familiar with” to describe exposure to technologies and concepts. Missing “a” and “the” qualifiers (“I am Java developer” instead of “I am a Java developer”) are also common errors in these resumes. Oftentimes, this is how people who have learned English as a second language speak, so it doesn’t appear incorrect to them when they type it on their resume. And, I’ve checked in Microsoft Word… the grammar checker doesn’t always pick up these types of errors.

When I see a resume like this, with minor grammatical errors, I stop myself before making a judgment call. These job seekers have worked very, very hard to learn a language that is nothing short of incredibly difficult to grasp. There are nuances to this language that don’t exist in a lot of other languages (the sheer volume of irregular verbs, for example), and it can be very difficult to learn. Heck, many of my fellow Americans can’t even speak the language properly, so I feel I should give some leniency to those who were born elsewhere and took it upon themselves to learn the language.

This makes me think about what my resume would look like if I had to write it in Spanish. My guess is that it would look something like this:

Sra. Katie Tierney

Calle Rojo
Chaska, Minnesota

Yo soy una “recruiter” de una compania de software consultado en Tejas.

As you can no doubt tell, my Spanish resume would really suck.

I do have a suggestion to the job seekers out there who don’t speak English as a native language. Take the time to have a native speaker review your resume. A native speaker will probably be able to help you flush out some of the errors that might not be evident to you, but can be very evident to hiring managers. It doesn’t take too much time, and I know there are lots of people out there who would be willing to help.

And, once you’ve got it all proofed and prettied, take a look at the jobs on BSGAlliance.com.

Have a great week!