You’d think it was a given, wouldn’t you, that you should carefully proof your resume? But a depressing number of resumes that end up in front of me have mistakes in them. Some minor, some pretty horrendous.
Two of my favorite examples:
a) Two proofreaders who managed to misspell the word proofreading on their resumes. I mean, what were the odds?
And b) a candidate who wrote at the top of the resume, in bold, upper case
“DETAIL ORIENTED SLEF MOTIVATED.”
Second phrase rather disproved the first one, didn’t it? It didn’t gain the owner any Brownie points but it gave me the perfect example to show why someone decided to trademark a spell check computer application. Unless you’ve won the National Spelling Bee Championship, or are sufficiently pretentious like myself and think you’re better than spell check, use it. It’s your friend. Mind you, it’s not infallible (see Point 2 below).
1) Tenses. When you’ve left a job, started another and updated your
resume, remember to change all the tenses on the job duties to the past tense. Remember to look at words that are in the middle of a line, not just the verb that started the bullet point.
2) Incorrect words. “Enquires” often features in resumes when it should be “enquiries”. The first is a verb e.g. “He enquires whether he should go or not” but the second word is a noun e.g. “I handle hundreds of enquiries a day.” Spell check doesn’t pick up on it because they’re both actual words, spelt correctly; it’s just that one of them is wrong in the context.
3) Consistency of layout. If you put e.g. “EDUCATION:” then make sure that all the other headings have a colon afterwards. You might think this is a bit of a Duh comment to make but it’s easy to slip.
Read, re-read and re-re-read your resume. Then get someone else to read it for you. It’s amazing the little errors that slip through because YOU know what you meant to say, so that’s what you see. Someone else is often more likely to pick up on typos.
It’s worth mentioning that lots of times you’ll get away with errors because the employers aren’t any better at proofing than you are! But quite often you’ll get a potential employer who’s as anal as I am, and your mistake-ridden resume won’t get past first base. A first impression, and that’s what a resume is, can make all the difference.