6 Easy-to-Fix Spelling and Grammar Mistakes that Could Cost You a Job

In the business world, bad spelling and grammar can actually ruin your career. 

A misspelling or a grammatical error in your resume or correspondence can be enough to have a hiring manager or recruiter move on to the next candidate.

Certainly, not everyone cares about spelling and grammar, but the ones who do? They really do.

And in the business world, it is expected that you have the basics down, which includes writing properly. Don’t lose an opportunity over a simple spelling or grammar mistake that you can learn.

Just find a system that will help you remember, like word association, or a song about it that you make up, or a just a little cheat sheet you always keep tucked into your wallet.

Here are six of the most common errors I see.

Loose / Lose

English is weird, and these words prove it. These spellings really don’t make much sense, so it’s not your fault if you use the wrong spelling, but you still have to remember the difference.

Loose = opposite of tight, rhymes with goose (think loosey goosey)
Lose = the opposite of win, and rhymes with booze, shoes and cruise (English is so weird, right?)

To see just how weird English is, compare another pair of words: choose and chose. Notice that theyre spelled the same as loose and lose except the initial sound, but the pronunciations are entirely different. Seriously, it doesn’t seem logical. No wonder so many people get it wrong.

My pants are too loose… did I lose weight?  

It’s / Its

The it’s/its confusion happens because apostrophes are often used to show ownership (Joe’s new car). But not in this case.

It’s is the contraction of it and is.  When in doubt, just read it as two words, it is, and see if it makes sense, and if it does, it’s is correct.

The problem many people have is knowing when to use its, but it’s not hard. Its is possessive just like his and you don’t need to use an apostrophe.

It’s = the contraction of it is, with the aprostrophe showing something is missing
• Its = possessive, meaning ‘belonging to it’ (just like his, her, hers, ours and theirs)

It’s a great feeling when the company names you one of its top performers. 

You’re / Your

You’re is the contraction of you are; the apostrophe here shows that something is missing. And your is the possessive for you.

You’re = the contraction of you are
Your = it belongs to you, which means its yours

You’re going to love the new title you’ll have in your new job.

They’re / Their / There

They’re = the contraction of they are
Their = belongs to them 
There = a place (Notice that the word here is in the word there.)

They’re going to move their headquarters to that new building over there.

Lead / Led

This comes up a lot in resumes where you talk about projects you lead and projects that you led.

Lead = in front or in charge, present tense, rhymes with “deed”
Led = in front or in charge, past tense, rhymes with “bed”
Lead = what’s in a pencil, which, confusingly, also rhymes with “bed” (again, English is weird)

In the past, she led the company’s efforts to reduce the amount of lead in paints, and now she has been asked to lead the new safety department.

A lot / Alot / Allot

First the bad news: there is no such word as alot. A lot refers to quantity, and allot means to distribute or parcel out.

Alot = not a word, nopety nope
• A lot = a large quantity
• Allot = distribute

When you allot the budget for next year, we want a lot of money for the new project.

Remember, I’m talking about business correspondence here, and spelling and grammar are less important elsewhere. For instance, texting and messaging, typos are expected and shorthand is common. And in personal correspondence, anything goes… you be you.

But in a job search and in business communications, the standards are high and everything matters when you are going after a job  you want or when you are trying to make a good impression (which for ambitious people is all the time).

So if you’re writing includes alot of these mistakes, know that hiring managers have they’re standards, and its possible that errors like these may have lead to loosing an interview you really wanted.

(See what i mean?. :^)

Comments are closed.