Back in April, the Brazen Careerist (aka Penelope Trunk) made the assertion that writing without typos is totally outdated. I've been thinking about the post ever since, particularly given that we are living in a shorthand, emoticon-filled world and I am a spelling bee kind of girl.
I agree with Brazen Careerist's assertions that "spellchecker isn't perfect." In my opinion, spell check can also be dangerous if you aren't paying attention: I remember well the laughs that a friend received in college when a rapid paper correction translated her last name from "Borden" to "Bordello." (Fortunately, our Sociology Professor had a great sense of humor.)
A small piece of me that also agrees with the sentiment behind the Brazen Careerist's observation that we don't "have unlimited time, so spend it on ideas, not hyphens." That said, the career counselor in me--the one who has spent the majority of the last decade advising emerging professionals and college students on career-related issues, resumes, and job applications--disagrees.
To me, spelling is as essential as making eye contact when you meet someone new: it's a fundamental part of making a strong impression. When someone looks you in the eye, you know that you have their attention; when you take the time to spell--you show that you care about both the appearance and the content of your information. Good spelling also demonstrates that you are good with details, and that you are paying attention. This builds trust, and increases the likelihood that your ideas will be carefully considered. Bottom line: I'll stick with the timeless assertion that a typo on your resume or cover letter can still--quite possibly--land you in the reject pile.
I know I'm out of sync with many bloggers and members of the court of public opinion--even Verizon directories pronounce "zero" as "O"--and I am doing my best to stay in the game. Unless I'm working with a client, I no longer focus on correcting typos before evaluating what is being said: I am working hard to evaluate ideas before presentation. But I continue to hold my love of spelling close to my heart, and I still answer text messages in longhand.
I hold firm that--in the professional world--spelling is unlikely to go out of style. One of the most-viewed stories in this Sunday's Washington Post: the story of William Glass III, an eighth grader whose attention to grammar wowed judges and the audience of an LG-sponsored national text messaging competition. He didn't win the competition, but his speed, accuracy, and ability to write SMS messages as if he were an "middle-aged technology-clueless English teacher" have certainly garnered him the recognition which will come in handy when it comes to securing his first internship. I rest my case.
Cross Posted at Career Hub.