When you send your resume and cover letter to prospective employers, mistakes and typos could ruin your chances at an interview. You know what you meant to say, so a quick scan isn’t going to reveal the mistakes that will stick out to recruiters and hiring managers. Use these tips to make sure your resume and cover letter don’t contain embarrassing errors.
Always Use Spell and Grammar Check
Most word processing programs automatically check for spelling and grammar, but they don’t make corrections for you. Go back through your document and review where your program marked errors. Word underlines mistakes with a squiggly red line and Google Docs uses solid red.
Grammarly has a free online grammar and spell checker that catches some errors word processing programs don’t. If you’re not creating your document online, you can upload it for a thorough error scan.
Don’t Edit Tired
If you just spent hours creating your resume, take a break. Come back when you’re rested, you’ll be glad you did.
Print for Proofing
You’ll be better able to spot errors on a paper copy than on a screen. Once you print your resume, use your finger to underline one word at a time as you read. The first time through, look at spelling, grammar and punctuation without editing for meaning and data accuracy. Clearly mark changes with a contrasting color pen so you can add them to your electronic copy later. Then read through again for information consistency.
Check for Common Errors
Spell check won’t catch a word used incorrectly. Make sure the subject and verb of every sentence agree with one another. Only place commas where the reader would naturally pause. Use an apostrophe with “its” only when you mean “it is.” Be careful with the commonly confused “affect” and “effect.” You “accept” offers, not “except” them. Most employees work with a manager, not a manger.
Read out Loud
This proofreading trick will catch errors you don’t notice any other way. Read your resume one word at a time at a pace similar to what you would use when speaking. If something doesn’t sound right, stop and fix it, then read it again.
If the electronic copy of your resume contains links to articles you’ve written, online reviews from customers or other materials, click them to make sure they go where you intend. You could have typed URLs incorrectly, or pages might have been moved.
Ask for Help
See if a professional acquaintance or mentor will proofread your resume for you. A fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.
For more resume writing tips, see our dynamic library of useful resources. Our blog also offers help with writing a cover letter, preparing for an interview and having a successful first day on the job.