You’re reading #6 of my Top Ten Tips for writing your resume. Read all the other tips by clicking on each link:
1. Be focused.—2. Be strategic and selective.— 3. Be succinct.— 4. Stand out from the crowd.— 5. Show results. — 6. Write it right.— 7. Make a great first impression.— 8. Be interesting. — 9. Be specific.— 10. Tell your story.
#6 WRITE IT RIGHT
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation matter. In fact, survey after survey has shown (for all the decades I’ve been in the careers business) that careless writing errors will get you eliminated from contention.
So, in your resume, don’t make them!
- Use spell-check, but don’t rely on it entirely. It won’t flag wrong-word errors.
- Read your resume aloud, slowly. You’ll find awkward phrasing and possibly a few errors that you overlooked when skimming silently.
- Recognize where you have a tendency to err and be extra careful about reviewing those areas.
- Write short, clear sentences to reduce grammatical errors that can creep into longer phrases and sentences.
- Let your resume rest for a few hours or a day. When you come back with fresh eyes, you are likely to spot an error that eluded you in your previous reading.
- Have someone whose writing skill you trust look over your draft.
If in doubt, look it up in a dictionary or use writing tool or guide. (I like the classic Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Some writers swear by the free Grammarly tool.)
When writing, editing, and reviewing, ask yourself if each sentence, each paragraph, each section of your resume clearly communicates what you did, what you know, and what you can do for your next employer.
Be careful about using jargon. If acronyms and industry-specific terms are very widely understood, it’s fine to use them, but strive to make your resume understandable to the lay reader who doesn’t have your insider knowledge.
Avoid overblown language. It’s off-putting to read a resume that is over the top. For example, be careful about describing yourself as a “superstar” or a “visionary” (even if you are!). Don’t get tangled up in “corporate speak” that uses impressive-sounding words but doesn’t really deliver your message.
SUMMING IT UP
- Be extremely careful to avoid language, spelling, and grammar mistakes that can derail your candidacy.
- Keep in mind that good writing is clear, concise, and vigorous. Avoid jargon, overblown language, and confusing syntax and structure.
BONUS TIP #11: GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Professional resume/profile writers are widely available for all professions, all levels, and in all fee ranges. Not only will we take an objective, employer-centric view of your career, we’re experts at uncovering the themes, threads, and success stories of your career that will sell your value.
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like a complimentary review of your resume, a few specific suggestions, and a proposal for a rewrite.