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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Article by Phillip Thomson in the Canberra times made my grit my teeth for two reasons.

I noticed the following article advising new graduates to use a spell checker and when I see that, I can't help feeling the journalist really needs to get better tools. The spelling is spellchecker.

Here is the paragraph that I feel is substandard advice and shows people, including journalists, are totally unaware of major issues with the writing tools they use.

"Before they send an email or document a graduate should use the automatic spell checker and make sure it's set to Australian English, not American."

I've already mentioned above the Phillip's incorrect spelling spell checker, but the problem with using the automatic spellchecker is even if you set it to Australian English, many people consider certain spelling variations such as organization to be an American spelling. If you include such spelling variations in your resume or cover letter, it is possible your correspondence will disadvantage you. In Australia both organisation and organization are valid spelling variations, with organisation being the most widely used and what I term the preferred Australian English spelling, but many people consider the ize spelling variation to be the American spelling.

Now you can argue until your blue in the face that you're right, but then you're now also argumentative. Even if you get to an interview, are you really then going to argue with a possible future employer. No, or at least you shouldn't.

The problem isn't you, it is the tools you're using. It took me decades to realise this and once I did I decided to do something about it. I created the preferred Australian English spelling files which can be added to Microsoft Office on Windows and Macs, and also have an Australian dictionary in development which can be installed as a native dictionary under OS X. The files I produce cover Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer under Windows, and Microsoft Office, Safari and all applications running on a Mac which use the built in spellchecker. You can find the dictionary files at

So if you're a new graduate don't take the chance that people think you can't spell because "they're" wrong. Don't make spelling an issue. Use the right tools to improve your chances of getting off to a good start in your career.

Kelvin Eldridge
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling files.

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