Can Poor Spelling Derail a Career?

Toddi Gutner:

I’m mentoring a young, ambitious engineer in our company. He’s competent and demonstrates his energetic drive every day. However, he constantly makes spelling and grammatical errors in his writings. I’ve asked him to utilize spell-checking and re-read his emails. But mistakes such as confusing “our” with “are” and “there” and “their” aren’t picked up with the computer tools. It’s been over a year and he’s still making these mistakes. What would you suggest as an appropriate next course of action? I am not sure if there are any additional classes he can take to improve his grammar/spell-checking skills.
A: While it is clear you have casually mentioned to your mentee about his spelling and grammatical errors, it sounds like it is time you have a more formal, direct discussion with him about his mistakes. It may be that he doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the problem and the impact it can have on his career. “He needs to know that these mistakes are getting in the way of his success and that his lack of professionalism and inaccuracy is unacceptable,” says Brad Karsh, president of JobBound, a career consulting firm.