These Spelling and Grammar Mistakes Might Cost You the 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.

Don’t lose an opportunity over a simple spelling or grammar mistake. Just learn the correct way, or find a system to remember, like word association or a little cheat sheet.

Here are a few common mistakes 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, but you still just have to remember them.

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)

To see just how weird it is, compare another pair of words: choose and chose. Theyre spelled the same as loose and lose except the initial sound, but the pronunciations are totally different. Seriously, English is weird. No wonder so many people get it wrong.

He acts like a loose cannon so I’m concerned we will lose that account.
My pants are too loose… did I lose weight?  

It’s / Its

The it’s/its confusion happens because apostrophes are also used to show ownership (Joe’s new car) except for most simple pronouns (so her new car is right but her’s new car is clearly not).

You know that his, hers, theirs and ours don’t need an apostrophe. Its is just like that.

It’s = the contraction of it is
• Its = belonging to it (just like his, hers and ours)

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.

You’re = the contraction of you are
Your = belongs to you

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 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”

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!
• 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.

There are types of communications where this is less important. In texting, typos are expected. In personal correspondence, anything goes.

But in a job search,  everything matters, so don’t let the little things slip you up.

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