Friday, March 22, 2013

Grammar Lessons for Job Seekers

I meet HR managers and recruiters all the time that tell me when they see a resume with spelling or grammatical errors, in their eyes the candidate is no longer considered. If this were the case for all employers, our nation's unemployment rate would be much higher. However, whether you consider yourself a spelling and grammar expert or not, the bottom line is that your resume is a paper representation of you. If it is full of mistakes and errors, in the employers eyes this is how you do your job.

One of the biggest issues I see when looking at resumes is the use of the homophones. Homophones are those tricky words that are pronounced the same, yet can have different spelling and meanings. Below I have gathered together - and clarified the use of - a list of the most common homophones that I see on resumes.

Led / Lead
The word lead is one of the trickiest on the list. What it means depends on how you pronounce the word. Lead (pronounced leed) can mean the act of showing the way, guiding, or directing. The word led is the past tense of the word lead. However, many people often use the word lead (pronounced like led) as the past tense of the verb "to lead," when actually this word refers to a soft metal. They led the team down to the lead mine.

Affect  / Effect
The easiest way to remember the difference is that affect is a verb that means to produce a change while effect is a noun that is refers to the change it produces. Rising gas prices affect everyone. The effect of higher prices is immediate. 

There / Their / They're
There is a location. Their is the possessive form of they. They're is a contraction of the two words they are. Here is a sentence that contains all three words: They're going to walk because their car is over there across the street.

Its / It's
When you want to contract the words it is or it has you use it's. When you are speaking in terms of the possessive you don't use the apostrophe and it is written its. It's cold outside so the dog laid in its bed.

Pique / Peek / Peak
You pique someone's interest or emotions. You quickly or furtively glance when you peek. The peak is the highest level of a mountain, frequency, volume, or intensity. After peeking at the peak of the mountain, my interest in climbing is piqued.

Your / You're
Your is simply the possessive form of you. You're is a contraction of the words you are. You're going to get sicker if you don't take your medicine.

Whose / Who's
This is very similar to its/it's and your/you're. You use whose as the possessive form of whom or who. Who's is a contraction of the words who is. Who's the lady whose family is waiting in the lobby?

Patients / Patience
Patients is the plural word that refers to people under medical care. Patience is the quality of being patient or being willing and able to suppress restlessness or annoyance. The patients were losing patience with the long wait time to see the doctor.

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