When you want to make a good impression in a cover letter or written submission, it’s incredibly frustrating to discover later that you left out a word in the very first sentence. Our brains don’t always catch simple mistakes, so it can’t hurt to enlist a little digital help as well.
Before you send out a cover letter, use a text-to-voice reader to check it for typos.
Nothing stings worse than sending out a cover letter and realising there was a missing word or bit of punctuation, especially if you — as we all must — claim to be “detail oriented.” You might miss these because your brain will correct what it sees to what you intended to say, but the robot will not.
One commenter asked if spell check basically does the same thing, and turtles4dayz had a good answer:
Spell check doesn’t catch missing words. E.g.: “As a graduate student, I’ve written many papers these topics.” There’s a missing preposition that will not show up, and because you know you meant to say “papers ON these topics,” you may not see it. It happens all the time.
It definitely does, and this is a great idea! There are a number of these apps online, one of which I used to test turtles4dayz’s suggestion out; it’s called Natural Readers. You simply drop a doc with your text in it into the browser, and it will read it aloud to you. You can pause and play as you go, if you want to stop to fix an error.
There are some issues with this particular reader that may be different depending on the program. For one, it’s a bit confused by acronyms, and tries to pronounce them as a word. Several times, it read the first capital letter of a sentence, then finished the word as though they were two separate thoughts.
My recommendation is testing a reader before you really need it, so you understand its quirks; then be sure to read along with any document you’e checking, as well.
Reading your work aloud to yourself is a good thing to do, too. It helps you understand the flow of what you’ve said in a way a robot voice cannot — but, that robot voice will notice when you write “and” instead of “an”, and that’s a very useful tool.