Dear Sir or Madman

Yesterday’s Yahoo news carried a piece on avoiding typos in one’s resume and cover letter to prospective employers, pointing out that the recipient would probably dump the offending documents in the nearest recycle bin upon catching the first such typo.  As a former English teacher, I can certainly sympathize with that response.  On the other hand, I suspect that most prospective employers are themselves ignorant of alot of such typo’s, and mere HR staffers would be even moreso.  Indeed, between you and I, many such solecisms were originally the fault of misguided English teachers to begin with (such as my son-in-law’s 4th grade teacher, whom he swears taught him never to use “and me”) and are therefore much more likely to be committed by people who really care about proper usage.

Of course, the corrolary to this rule is that many job applications may land in the circular file, not because of they’re poor grasp of English usage, but because of the recipients.

Jane Grey

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One Response to “Dear Sir or Madman”

  1. Nancy Remler Says:

    An English teacher myself, I am amused by your musings on the typo epidemic. Were you wondering how many readers would catch the deliberate typos in your piece? You remind me of an article, “The Phenomenology of Error,” which came out in an issue of College English back in 1978 (I think). If you’d like to read it, e-mail me, and I’ll find an electronic copy of it for you.

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