Writing skills are the keystone of a legal career. How you express yourself is vitally important. In any memo or document you write, proofreading is essential. We have all written something, proofread it several times, just to have a second party point out an error! Perhaps you have occasionally written something that seemed very clear and succinct to you and then received a “I didn’t really understand that” comment. I certainly have!
So, not to belabor the point, we all know how important proofreading is when dealing with emails and other professional correspondence. However, when it comes to preparing application materials, proofreading is paramount! A cover letter is a written sample of your professional writing and communication skills, which hopefully will impress the employer. We all know, the letter will only impress if it is error free.
Everyone plans to develop effective application materials. However, recently in the Career Development Office, we have had an epidemic of quickly written cover letters that contain one or more glaring typos. Here is an actual correspondence we received from an employer in regards to this very issue:
“One thing that I know you probably stress at Mizzou (I remember it well during my law studies) is cover letter writing. There were several cover letters that I received from applicants with multiple typos and grammar errors. I pass this along not to nitpick, but to really stress the importance of this part of the application to the applicants as a way to set themselves apart. All of the applicants have excellent resumes and submitted impressive writing samples. However, one of the core functions of the position is being a point person for proper grammar and syntax. As I said earlier, I am not sending this as a complaint but rather some advice for some truly impressive law [students and] graduates that I would really like to have succeed regardless of [where] they work. ”
Enough said! Please utilize the services of the Career Development Office, as well as your colleagues and classmates, to review your materials before sending them out.