The power of a second pair of eyes

By Mark McDonald, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Dublin North)

“I have put this peace together because I keep seen to many mistakes on CV’s and cover letters and I know that

Mark McDonald

Mark McDonald, Career Coach Tel: +353 86 3812 555

employers will take a dim view”. The obvious mistakes in the sentence above are clear to see but I am constantly amazed at how many people fail to check their CV and cover letter prior to application, writes Mark McDonald, Career Coach.

We are all guilty of typos and the occasional misuse of grammatical terms. Spotting these within something we have written ourselves can be difficult. We sometimes tend to read words as we want them to be rather than what they should be.

If an employer sees mistakes on an application they have no choice but to assume that the applicant is sloppy and careless, and will most likely bin the application. Is this harsh? I don’t think so.

Employers don’t know you and have to make a decision on whether they are going to invest time and money in you and trust you with their hard-earned reputation.  Presenting them with an opportunity to form a negative opinion of you at the very first stage of the application process will almost certainly finish your chances.

There is a very simple solution. No matter how certain you are that your CV, cover letter or application form is perfect; get it checked by someone else before you submit it.

Don’t put all your faith in running a spell check and leaving it at that. Spell check will most likely only highlight a misspelling. It may not tell you if your use of a word is wrong or not i.e. “I carried out the roll” versus “I carried out the role”.

Better-be-spell-perfectSpell check is clever but it cannot predict all eventualities.

Not only do typos say something about your attention to detail, they can also dramatically alter the meaning of a sentence.

Did you carry out the roll?

Or did you carry out the role?

Potentially, there’s a world of difference there. Sometimes, typos can be funny: but they can also be utterly confusing and misleading.

A second pair of eyes will see so much more because they don’t have a mental attachment to what has been written. They will take a forensic view of your work and may very well spot mistakes that you have missed.

Asking a family member, friend or colleague to check your application prior to submitting can offer huge value to your chances, particularly if you are prone to the odd error.

Don’t rule out your chances at the very start of your application process. Don’t hand the initiative to the next applicant simply because they had their work checked prior to submission, and don’t rob yourself of the chance of a new career simply because you didn’t get your work checked.

First impressions carry a lot of weight within the recruitment process. We have a tiny window to make an impression early on. If asking somebody to run their eye over an application will help maximise that window then, make sure to do it.

A second pair of eyes can sometimes make all the difference between a strong application and the one that got away.

Mark McDonald is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers and works out of Dublin North. You can read more about him, and make a booking HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.