It feels like we never shut up about how important it is to have an error-free resume and cover letter, but it's one of those topics that can't be overstated. The challenge is to find a new way to state it. So rather than think up some way to repackage the same old information, I'm asking you, dear Pongo Blog readers, to share your pet peeves in the spelling and grammar categories. But let's take that request one step further—if you can, include a tip to help us all remember the right way vs. the wrong way. I'll start.
My pet peeve is the misuse of "I" when talking about yourself and another party. For example, which sounds correct?
- Here's a picture of Jim and I.
- Here's a picture of Jim and me.
The first one might "sound" more proper, but it's wrong. Technically, the explanation is that I is a subject and me is an object, but who can remember that? Fortunately, there's a much easier way to figure it out: Just remove the other person from the sentence (temporarily).
In the example above, if you remove Jim and, it's easy to see which one is right:
- Here's a picture of I. (Eeew.)
- Here's a picture of me. (Ahhh! That's better.)
When we put our friend Jim back in, the me doesn't change. "Here's a picture of Jim and me."
But, but, but … if you consider a slightly different sentence, "Jim and I posed for a picture," then I is the right choice, because you would never say, "me posed for a picture."
This tip works whether the other party is one person, a group, or whatever. (The team and I gave a presentation. The boss bought lunch for my friends and me. My dog and I love pizza.)
In an atmosphere where people misspell things intentionally in their texts and tweets, it may seem nit-picky to insist on perfect grammar and spelling in your job search documents. But you wouldn't go to a job interview with a hole in your shirt, so don't send a resume or cover letter with a mistake in it.
Now it's your turn to share your spelling or grammar pet peeve—and if you have one—a tip for avoiding it!
Take it from HR: One Typo Can Kill Your Chances
Quiz: Are You Smarter Than a Spell Checker?