Did you know that the most popular resume dealbreaker is also the most preventable? Almost 80% of hiring managers will disqualify a candidate because of typos and/or bad grammar in their resume. Because of this, editing and proofreading your resume is a crucial part of the application process (and it requires more than rereading your resume once). Don’t know where to start? Let these “4 Cs” guide your resume proofreading process.
Copyediting includes looking for and fixing spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. While this may sound like a job for spellcheck, some mistakes can’t be caught through an automated feature. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you copyedit your resume:
- Are there typos that weren’t caught by spellcheck?
- Are you using the correct word usage? (For example, are you using the word “except” when it should be “accept?”)
- Are all proper nouns correctly capitalized?
- Are all dates and abbreviations correct?
- Are you using present tense verbs for current positions and past tense verbs for former positions?
- Are there periods at the end of every complete sentence?
When editing for clarity, you should make sure that your sentences convey exactly what you intend. Clear and concise sentences make your resume easy to understand and display strong writing skills. Here are some questions to consider when editing your resume for clarity:
- Do your sentences and bullets effectively describe your previous experience?
- Are your sentences formed as complete thoughts?
- Are your word choices clear and concise?
- Does your information flow in a logical way? (For example, is your resume in reverse chronological order?)
- Is there any irrelevant information that you should remove?
Both the information and the format of your resume should be uniform and easy to look at. Inconsistency in your resume can come off as sloppy to hiring managers, even if the irregularities are small. Keep your resume consistent by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you starting every bullet with an action verb?
- Are you using punctuation at the end of every bullet?
- Are you using the same style for each heading?
- Are you using the same font throughout?
One of the best ways to find out if you have an error-free resume is to have someone else proofread it for you. They don’t have to be a true work colleague; they can be a friend or family member. A fresh set of eyes may have insight that you didn’t think about when you proofread a resume yourself.
If you don’t have someone available to look over your resume, there are a few things you can do yourself to triple-check for mistakes. Apps like Grammarly and Hemingway can catch small errors and can even detect wordy or unclear sentences. Another great resource for reviewing a resume is the “Read Aloud” feature in the Microsoft Word application, which will help point out misspellings and awkward phrases.