You came here expecting to find the number one way to make sure your resume isn’t overlooked. No doubt that you have submitted it to your dream company or your dream job numerous times an never heard back. Don’t worry you are not alone.

So without further adieu, let me get into the number one way….

Oh, alright, it might not be the number one way, but it sure is an easy way to make sure that your resume isn’t filed in the ‘circular file’ or ‘file 13’ or any of those other places where you can be sure that no one will retrieve your resume, review it, and call you for an interview.


[drum roll please]

Yes, you may have guessed it, we are talking about the dreaded typo/misspelling which lands your resume right in the trash. Now I know that you are saying to yourself right now "I know about typos and misspellings" or " I use spell check already" or "It has been covered, let’s move on." Well hold on to your horses, ou may not have this info. I wrote about it in an earlier post ‘How important are typos in your resume?’ but I have a hunch that quite a few people missed one of the most important parts… so I’m going to lay it out for you step by step, with pictures even. Once you do, your spellchecker will be customized for you – super charged if you will – so that all of your common spelling/typo mistakes will be flagged for correction… BEFORE you send out that ultra-important document.

First, let’s get to some common ground. I’m assuming that you are using MS Office and its integrated (and shared) spellchecker. If that isn’t the case, well then you won’t get any use from this tip, sorry to have taken up your time. [But you could help someone who does by learning the tip and sharing it].

50,000 Foot View – We are going to add unwanted variations of the word’s spelling to the exclude dictionary (exclude dictionary: A dictionary with words that the main dictionary recognizes as being spelled correctly, but that you want to verify during a spelling check. For example, if you prefer "theatre" to "theater," add "theater" to the exclude dictionary.)

So if you have a good underestanding of our overall objective, here we go. If you don’t, just hang on, it will become clear in just a moment.

Step one: Open a new document in MS Word. Of course you first have to open MS Word to do that, but you should already know how to do that.





Note: After opening the new document, make sure that you turn off "AutoCorrect option for capitalizing the first letter of sentences." To do this (if you aren’t familiar) go to Tools >> Autocorrect Options >> click the tab "AutoCorrect" and then make sure the "Capitalize first letter of sentences" check box is un-checked.



Step Two: Type the words that you want to add to the exclude dictionary. Be sure to type the words in all lowercase letters. Press ENTER after each word. (Manger is a commonly misspelled word which gets overlooked by spellchecker all the time) Add as many words as you want, and whatever words give you trouble.









Step Three: On the file menu, click Save As

Step Four: In the Save in box, browse to the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof

Note: If you don’t see the Application Data folder in your user name folder, you may need to turn on the option for viewing hidden folders.

And then in the Save as type box, click Plain Text.

In the field where it allows you to enter the file name, type a name for the exclude dictionary.

Note: The exclude dictionary name must match the main language dictionary that it is associated with, except use the file name extension .exc. For example, the English (United States) dictionary is called Mssp3en.lex, so you should name the associated exclude dictionary Mssp3en.exc.



To view the file names of the different dictionaries available, you can use Windows Explorer to browse the directory C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof

The last two characters of the file name, before the file extension, identify the language: "en" for English, "fr" for French, and so on.

Also make sure that the file extension is correct — for example, that .txt isn’t appended to the file name extension.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: I actually save my file in the
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof because then these changes work for everyone in all Microsoft programs that use spellchecker.

Step Five: Click SAVE


In the File Conversion dialog box that appears, select MS-DOS, and then click OK.

Step Six: On the File menu (of MS Word), click Close.

Finally: To activate the exclude dictionary, you need to restart Microsoft Word.

I would actually reboot, to make sure that ALL of the MS applications that I use would take advantage of the exclude dictionary.

That’s it, you have just made changes that will keep you from making the "invisible" spelling mistake that keeps you from getting your dream job.


What you should have ended up with (again making some assumptions here) is a file that is named something like the one in the picture to the left, and if you took my advice, it is in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof just like mine is.


About the author, Chief Executive Restaurant Recruiter

Born in Arkansas, moved to FL for 3 years as a youngster. Lived in GA most of my life. Married in 1985, 2 kids, one of each. Graduate of USNA Class of 1980. Love golf, computers, poker, photography, and gadgets.

  1. Is it supposed to be funny there are at least 3 typos in the first 3 paragraphs of the post? I feel like the FedEx ad: “It’s not the leaning Tower of Pizza, and we don’t get French benefits” – “adieu” means goodbye in German. “Ado” is a word used to describe fanfair and extravegance in English. So without further ado… let me say spellcheck doesn’t catch all errors.

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