7 Keys to Writing An Error-Free Resume

A resume is one of the most critical parts of the job application. It is the first way to market yourself to a potential employer. A well-written resume gives highlights on relevant qualifications like work history, academic background, past employment and major achievements.  

It can be the easiest way to get your dream job and can also be the simplest way to lose a lifetime opportunity. The employer usually takes less than a minute to read a resume because it is only a page or two in length. The most important goal to a job applicant is to polish up the resume until the employer has enough confidence in them.

The resume should be clear, appealing and consistent. A resume with errors can result in the applicant getting knocked out of the competition for the position.  A bad resume may be a sign that the applicant is unqualified or unprofessional.

The applicant should, therefore, remain focused and dedicated to write a masterpiece resume. A candidate that is making an impact through his resume is always preferred over the one with one full of errors.

You can avoid portraying a bad image by following the steps below:

Use a Proofreading Software

Sometimes we tend to overlook simple grammatical errors. This kind of errors may be due to lack of knowledge or carelessness.  They, however, are embarrassing and can sabotage a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Fortunately, writing skills can be improved. Making use of online proofreading and grammar tools plays a significant role in the field of writing.

Interesting enough, these automated proofreading tools can detect wrong sentence structure, punctuation errors, inaccurate grammar and incorrect use of words. Even better, some give you an explanation on why there is an error and ways to correct the error.

This isn’t to say you should depend solely upon software for all of your proofreading needs. It still makes sense to have human eyes reread both your resume and your cover letter.

Short and Simple

First off unless you have more than ten years experience at a particular profession keep your resume no longer than 1 page. Also, leave the cheezy “References: Available Upon request” it’s heavily outdated and not really a thing these days unless the employer specifically asks for them in the job description or during a followup in the interview process. 

Try and structure your resume so it will get a specific persons attention. You are not writing a generic document for the public, you are writing to a specific person, with a name, at a specific company within a specific industry. These things all matter and should be taken into account in effort to connect with the reader and ultimately get an interview. 

Remember that a hiring manager will view your resume during the first phase for no more than a few seconds, so it is important to not only make sure it is error-free but also leaves a positive impression. 

Proofread, and Do it Again!

You need to ensure your resume is free of any grammar and punctuation errors. With modern day technology in place, it’s really easy to send a resume full of mistakes in an email. So, be sure to double, and then triple check your resume for accuracy and good grammar before you submit it.

This may seem mundane but all it takes is one little spelling error to get your resume binned.

Have Someone Else Read It

Ask a friend, a relative or your coach to review it for you. Because you wrote your resume and have probably read it over a dozen or so times you may be blind to some word usage errors that a fresh pair of eyes may better identify. The more sets of eyes you can get on your resume before sending it off the better.

Remember too that your final review is most crucial because it is your last chance to tweak anything so that it is just write for the position you are applying to. 

Take a break

How often do you catch typos even after you have proofread the document several times? Well, wrong spellings look right until you leave it and come back to it when you are fresh. You only need to wait a day or two, there is no need to wait any longer. 

Formatting

This is one of the first things an employer will notice on a resume. The key thing to remember as an applicant is that the resume should be clear and easy to follow. There are all kinds of formats but the reverse chronological order is by far the most common and popular. If you are confused about which resume format is best then check out our in-depth guide to formatting.

In terms of specific tips, remember that overly large paragraphs are tiring to read and should be avoided at all cost. You also want to avoid personal pronouns and focus on achievements and results as opposed to daily tasks and abstracts. 

Your resume should be kept simple,  and you should avoid the use of clipart or borders. Font selection is also important as there is some flexibility in professional font variations.  In cases where the resume is more than one page, avoid listing one job on one page and another job on a different page. Ensure the page transition is smooth. 

If you aren’t sure if somethings sounds right try reading it out loud to yourself. If you couldn’t say it to someone then it probably isn’t written in the smoothest tone. Try rewriting it by speaking it out loud in different ways. Speaking is a great way for some people to better optimize their phrase usage and sentence structure.

Consistency

Your resume should have the same simple fonts and font size throughout. Be consistent when it comes to abbreviations and capitalization. Capitalize proper nouns, the first word of the sentence or each bullet points. It is important to remember that the resume portrays your qualification and should, therefore, have a professional tone.

A pro tip to maintaining consistency is once you have your formatting dialed in and your proofreading done save the document in a PDF format so that when you email it or upload it to company job sites you don’t have to worry about your formatting (and hard work) being distorted.

Depending on what version of Microsoft Word the reader has .doc and .docx documents can appear different on different screens PDF files all display the same so it is the preferred way of locking-in formatting and sharing professional documents like resumes.

Conclusion

No matter how competent you are having errors in your resume can cost you a lifetime opportunity. The above steps help you learn which pitfalls to dodge when writing one. If you are still confused and want to read a step-by-step guide to composing your resume from scratch then we have a guide for that as well. 

About Rudeth S

I'm currently a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for a leading Fortune 500 company, a mother of 3 and herbal tea lover!

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