Spelling for hire

My advice: If you aren’t a capable editor, find someone who is.
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A local retailer recently purchased a half-page newspaper ad to tout that it had full- and part-time sales “positioins” available.

It was hard work getting through the ad, because the misspellings just kept coming.

Sales ladies (apparently men need not apply), the ad said, must have a “drivers liscense,” dress “buisness proffessional” and have a natural “tendancy” to please.

I won’t identify the retailer or the newspaper as I don’t want to pick on them, but someone should have caught those mistakes. They undermine each one’s credibility.

• If the newspaper doesn’t proof its ads, what confidence should readers have that the editorial content is any more accurate?
• If the retailer doesn’t have an eye for detail when it comes to self-promotion, will it do right by customers and the goods or services they purchase?

This advertiser is seeking employees. Would it be acceptable for job candidates to present resumes bearing four misspelled words? And if you hire someone who is so careless about how she represents her career experience, could you expect her to represent your business effectively?

One might argue that spelling mistakes are no big deal unless the public sees them, as with this ad. In other words, they wouldn’t have been an issue if they appeared, for instance, in an email between the advertiser and the newspaper rather than in this very public ad.

The trouble with this logic, however, is that you never know these days when private communication will become public, as former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta found out. Besides, can spelling habits really be turned on and off as if on a switch?

Spelling isn’t everyone’s strong suit, just as plumbing and electrical work aren’t among my skill sets. That’s why I hire trained professionals to perform those tasks for me.

My advice: If you aren’t a capable editor, find someone who is. This applies as well to news releases, newsletters, flyers, brochures.

Otherwise, you’re not only paying with your wallet but also with your reputation.

About the Author

Neal Goulet

Neal Goulet, Owner
Having been a journalist, Neal knows writing, grammar and style, as well as the language and movements of a newsroom.
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