Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Nobody's Perfect," So Do You Need to Proofread?

Grammar Girl (AKA Mignon Fogarty) wrote a blog post about proofreading; she commented,  “…I feel like a fraud for covering this topic, because I make as many errors as everyone else…” I know how you feel, Grammar Girl! There’s tremendous pressure for the founder of National Proofreading Day to be accurate.

Grammar Girl continued, “…it’s nearly impossible for someone to accurately proofread [his/her] own writing and be consistently successful... The real key to avoiding typos is to have someone else proofread your copy,…” It’s embarrassing when someone finds an error in your writing; consequently, having that someone be the person who proofreads your copy is ideal!

Having an error is unprofessional and can be costly to you and your business. But, are there errors you’re willing to forgive? Do you think it’s acceptable if someone makes an occasional typo such as you vs. your or from vs. form? How do you feel when someone repeatedly makes the same mistake such as than vs. then or their vs. there? Do you feel like Kyle Wiens (author of “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.” See last week’s post.)? Please share your thoughts.

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro
Founder of National Proofreading Day

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What the Experts Say: Proofread!

Kyle Wiens’ hiring guidelines may seem harsh to you; he has “a zero-tolerance approach to grammar mistakes.” He wrote a blog post, “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.” Wiens has applicants take a mandatory grammar test because “good grammar is credibility, especially on the [I]nternet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have.”

Allie Gray Freeland explains your resume is “a hiring manager’s first exposure to who you are as an employee.” Her article, “Top 7 Resume Grammatical Errors – And How To Avoid Them,” offers advice for keeping your resume consistent and accurate.

If you’re applying for a job that requires paying attention to detail, prove it with a resume and cover letter that have consistent punctuation, consistent formatting and fonts, and proper spelling and grammar. Show that you care about details.

If you claim you’re a professional, prove it with your error-free resume and cover letter. You wouldn’t go to the interview with a stain on your jacket, would you? Then, why would you send a resume with a typo? Your resume and cover letter are part of your image. Project professionalism by proofreading your documents so you get the interview! 

Please share your comments; I'd love to hear what you think!

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro
Founder of National Proofreading Day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Cost of NOT Proofreading

To help me avoid mistakes in my business communications, I created a proofreading checklist. What’s one of the items on my proofreading checklist? Check the spelling of proper names. Don’t assume you spelled it right; go to the source to double check the spelling. This was reinforced for me again last month when I had an oops in my newsletter! A reader noticed I didn’t correctly spell Bette Nesmith (not Nesmeth) Graham’s name in last month’s newsletter. Did you catch the misspelling? The reason Sue detected the error is Bette’s son, Michael, was a band member of The Monkees. My apologies, Ms. Nesmith Graham. And, thank you, Sue Tripp! Some errors are just embarrassing.

And, some errors are costly. Did you hear about the $0 to $10 tickets United Airlines accidentally offered online for 15 minutes this past September? Human error. A worker entered a wrong number. United will honor the tickets sold at these free or low-cost fares; the total amount lost was never disclosed.

This mistake could have cost $30 million! In 2007 a New Mexico car dealership sent 30,000 scratch-off tickets for a promotion. Rather than one $1,000 grand prize winner, ALL ticket holders were winners! Evidently, the typo was missed during the proofreading process. A total of 50,000 tickets were supposed to be mailed; the remaining 20,000 weren’t sent after thousands of people went to the dealership claiming they were the $1,000 winner. The small type stated “the odds of winning the $1,000 grand prize are 1 in 50,000.” That disclaimer helped to avoid a very expensive ad campaign.

Proofreading. What does it mean to you and your business? To me, it means checking all work. (Oh really? Then why didn’t I check the spelling of Bette’s last name?) Whether we like it or not, proofreading is a necessary process in the business world to avoid making embarrassing and costly mistakes. In addition to e-mails, blogs, and resumes, we need to check spreadsheets, part numbers, UPCs, diplomas, greeting cards, signs, etc. The list is endless!

From now on I’m going to triple check the spelling of proper names. Wonder what else is on my checklist? Click to see below and to share your checklist.

I’ll be starting a contest next month. Please be sure to read my next blog and newsletter (sign up!) for details!

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro

Proofreading Checklist

____ Check proper names.

____ Check titles and headings.

____ Read subject lines.

____ Verify dates and times.

____ Check addresses: street, website, and e-mail.

____ Check phone numbers.

____ Check state abbreviations.

____ Check numbers (quantities, percentages).

____ Check for matching symbols (parentheses, quotation marks, brackets).

____ Check for your commonly mistyped words. Use CTRL+F (keyboard shortcut for Find) to review for the proper word; for example, you vs. your, my vs. by, form vs. from.

____ __________________________________________

____ __________________________________________

____ __________________________________________

____ __________________________________________

____ __________________________________________

____ __________________________________________

Please share your proofreading checklist!

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro