There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you have spelling mistakes or grammar errors on your resume after you had clicked the “Apply” or “Send” button. Research shows that your resume can end in the “pass” pile if the HR recruiter or the hiring manager notice misspelled words on your resume. Avoid the frustration of sending a flawed resume by following these four tips.
1. Change the MS Word Language Settings
Microsoft Word automatically flags spelling mistakes. Use this setting to your advantage by changing the Language setting to English (Canada) as our spelling is different from American English. An example of this is the word Labour (Canadian spelling) versus the American spelling, Labor.
2. Revise Your Tenses
For former positions, all action verbs should be written in past tense. The verbs used in your current position should be in present tense. Make sure you do not switch tenses mid-sentence as it could confuse the reader and make your resume difficult to read.
3. Proofread – Sleep on it – Proofread again
Using a spelling/grammar checker is not enough to make sure your resume is free of misspellings and grammar errors. The reason is that these tools only flag misspelled words. For example, if you write “Design and implement overall recruiting strategy for tight industrial and administrative support industries” the checker will flag the word “recruiting.” However, it won’t catch the typographical error in “tight.” In the statement, the writer meant to write “light” instead if “tight” but the spelling of “tight” is correct so the word will not be flagged by the spelling checker. To increase your chances of noticing errors missed by technology, try proofreading your resume with fresh eyes: once you have finished, move on to another activity to change the stimulus. After a break, come back to your resume and proofread it again.
4. Ask for a Second Opinion
We all have the tendency to miss typographical, grammar and even omit important information because we know what we are trying to say so our brain makes us read what we intend to write. There is a simple solution for this. Ask someone you trust to proofread your resume and flag errors and confusing sentences and paragraphs. If you want to take full advantage of this favour, ask the person to guess what position you intend to apply for. The response you get can give you further insights about how your resume is perceived.
Following these tips will improve your chances of producing professional resumes. Remember that your resume is often the first piece of written work a hiring manager comes in contact with. Recruiters will make assumptions about who you are based on your resume; do your part to trigger positive assumptions and entice the reader to invite you for an interview.
Originally written by Arcelia Camacho, republished in March 2021.