A look into the blogging process: Resume tips don’t solely come to life through the experience of writing resumes every day. I find I learn a lot about the hiring process from speaking to those in my life who hire as well. Whether HR representative, hiring manager, or company executive, each has something new and informative to share about what an eye-catching resume looks like when I speak to them — and all have opinions on what elements might immediately raise concerns when reading through applications.
The most common answer, by far: spelling and grammar mistakes.
No matter what kind of role you are applying for, or the level of the position, spelling and grammar are key to presenting yourself professionally in your resume. Every sentence plays a role in defining who you are and why you are a great fit for a position, and it’s important to make sure that typos and inconsistencies don’t distract from the important information about you.
COMMON SPELLING AND GRAMMAR ERRORS
We’re all guilty of a typo or two in documents. But, given that your resume is the first opportunity to impress an employer, it’s important to avoid typos as much as you can. Make that first impression count by checking for the following:
General Spelling Mistakes
This is where you check for those general typos!
Does it feel like two sentences have been squished together without a conjunction or punctuation to break up the thoughts? Try to separate those pieces (likely two or more independent clauses) into two bullets, or two sentences.
Faults in Parallelism
Look at the lists you have in your resume. Do they feel awkward, as if the parts don’t quite fit together? You may be facing faulty parallelism. Ensure each piece of the list match grammatically. For example:
Incorrect: Managed documents, taking notes, filing and managing reports for the department.
What’s wrong here? The list above contains nouns and verbs in the list, making the wording seem awkward.
Correct: Managed documentation, note-taking, filing and report management for the department.
What’s right here? The list now only contains nouns for each element.
Verb Tense Inconsistencies
Ensure that the verb tenses in your resume correctly reflect the time when you completed the tasks being discussed. Keep previous positions in past tense. Keep current positions in present tense, unless you are addressing a specific project or initiative that has already been completed (in which case, use past tense).
Capitalize proper nouns across your resume. Beyond that, capitalization should be limited to headings or subheadings and should be consistent throughout your document.
Make sure you are using the correct version of similar-sounding words. Check their/they’re/there, affect/effect, than/then, among other homophones that tend to give you any trouble generally!
Consistency in Use of Periods
As resumes tend to be in a bulleted format, decide whether each point will end with a period or not — and keep your style consistent! Where full sentences are used in your resume (like, perhaps, in your profile) ensure periods are used.
How can you avoid these spelling and grammar errors?
resume editing tips
Spell Check Tools
Most word processors will have a built-in spell check option — make sure it’s turned on and take a look at the mistakes it’s catching. We also recommend downloading Grammarly, a free writing app that catches spelling and grammar errors throughout documents, as you work on them.
Print Out a Hard Copy
Printing out your resume gives you a great opportunity to see and process the document in a different format. Once printed, you can even try reading the document backward, sentence by sentence; this allows you to consider each sentence individually and really decide if they make sense on their own.
Take this opportunity to triple, or quadruple, check your numbers, dates, and contact information throughout as well!
Have a Friend Read Your Resume
A fresh set of eyes on the document is a great idea if you are feeling like the document is ready to be submitted. Friends haven’t sat through the entire writing process, and don’t have the context behind each bullet point or sentence. If one of your points isn’t clear to that friend, it likely won’t be clear to the hiring manager! So, have someone you trust take a full read through the document and circle the things that are confusing to them so that you can reword them effectively.
Work with a Professional Resume Writer
Professional resume writers, like our team at Always Brave Creative, have vast experience tailoring resumes to highlight your experience effectively and compellingly, creating visually appealing resumes, and ensuring your resume is hitting the right points to meet the criteria for roles you are applying to.
~ written by Lucy Fox
A Note From Katie:
More and more, we’re seeing clients ask about ordering BOTH a “designed” resume (that is, one that features a graphic design as impressive as the actual text) and an ATS friendly document, with the plan to send designed resumes directly to hiring managers when direct emails are listed, and to upload ATS friendly resumes when applying through jobs banks. To meet this new need, Always Brave Creative now offers the option to purchase the second document at a discounted price. Send us a message to learn more!