6 Simple Grammar Lessons for Your Resume
By Christina Ellis,
Your resume is your first impression with a company. As a result, poor grammar, punctuation or spelling can be your resume’s quickest route to the trash bin. These errors translate into carelessness, lack of motivation and professionalism and only serve to mask your experience and job qualifications.
Piles of resumes are sent to human resources and hiring managers on a daily basis. They have to be narrowed down somehow, and errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling are an easy way to eliminate applicants.
These errors are hard to spot on your own, so here are the most common ones to be aware of when putting your resume together.
1. KEEP YOUR TENSES CONSISTENT
Often times people switch between present and past tenses on a their resumes.
M Force Staffing, Nashville, TN 7/2010-present At M Force I worked with multiple industries. I help people find jobs.
See the inconsistency? Do not switch tenses within your resume. The duties you perform currently should be in the present tense and the ones you performed in the past should be in the past tense
A whopping 61% of hiring managers stated that typos within a resume would result in immediate relocation to the trashcan
. If you want to ensure your resume remains at the top of the stack where it belongs, careful attention to detail is essential. As a result, racing to complete your resume should never be an option. ALWAYS use spell check. ALWAYS! Be aware that spell often won’t uncover errors that involve misuse of words that sound the same but are spelled differently.
- weather – whether
Your brain sometimes finishes words even if they are incomplete or misspelled. So a great trick to use to conquer this is to read your resume backwards! Reading backwards will help you catch misspellings because your mind will not be trying to finish the misspelled word for you.
3. PUNCTUATION ! ? . , " ; :
Commas, periods, and hyphens can be tricky. We often lack a fine-tooth comb approach when looking for punctuation. Always put a period at the end of a full sentence and be consistent in your use of punctuation.
Resumes often include lists of tasks or skills so be particularly aware of the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma). So what is it? The Oxford comma comes before a conjunction (like “and” or “or”) in a series of words and is used to clarify a sentence.
With: “ I stacked, packed, and shipped..."
Without: “ I stacked, packed and shipped....”
There’s a lot of debate over whether or not to use the Oxford comma, so it’s best to make a decision and be consistent.
This is probably the most common mistake. Some people capitalize EVERY single letter at the beginning of a word, while others never use it at all. A good rule of thumb is to remember your proper nouns. They are everywhere in your resume, from company names to degrees and certifications.
5. DATE FORMAT CONSISTENCY
This is probably the most minor, but most annoying of all the resume errors. Pick one format and stick with it throughout the entire resume.
Example: 6. PROOFREAD OVER and OVER and OVER.......AND THEN, ASK A FRIEND!
- May 2013 to May 2014
- May 2013-14
- May 2013-2014
- 5/29/2013 to 5/29/2014
We all have at least one in our lives. Someone that is obsessed with being grammatically correct ALL of the time! Their constant corrections have been an annoyance on many occasions in the past and if you've pointed that out to them, you may want to come bearing gifts when you ask for their help!
Having a fresh set of eyes is a good way to find mistakes you have overlooked. As a recruiter, there is nothing more refreshing than seeing a flawless resume where no corrections need to be made! Those resumes are the ones that show they were carefully made by a detailed individual who always puts his or her best foot forward. For a hiring manager, that often times translates to a new hire!