Man proofreading his resume.

Your resume ultimately serves as the determining factor that either moves you forward in the hiring process, or leaves you behind. For this reason, it’s astonishing that some candidates don’t proofread their resumes prior to sending them. Since a resume is so important, it’s smart to give it a proper read over. While proofreading certainly isn’t fun, one small grammar mistake could wind up costing you the job. Something so trivial shouldn’t cost you the job. To help, we’ll be discussing proofreading tips when working on a resume.

What’s interesting with a resume, is that you have to check formatting in addition to spelling and grammar. Resumes are expected to be flawlessly laid out, in addition to not having any grammatical errors. It’s a tall order, but we have some advice that should help you!

Preparation

You should always proofread.

No matter how strong your grammatical skills are, you should never write your resume and call it done. Whether it’s a conscious mistake or not, it’s very easy to hit the wrong key or mistype. While it’s great to be confident in your grammar skills, a resume is important enough that you should take the time and proofread it.

Don’t proofread right away.

If you look over the document immediately following drafting it, you will always miss mistakes. Since you’ve written it recently, the sentences and words are familiar to you, and mistakes won’t stand out. Consider giving it a few hours before you examine the resume from a grammatical standpoint. This will ensure that you are viewing it from a neutral standpoint.

Determine how you edit best.

We’re all different, and some people prefer to edit digitally, others physically. Whichever way is more comfortable for you to edit is the way you should choose. If you tend to miss mistakes staring at a screen, don’t feel bad about printing an extra copy to edit. Go crazy with that red pen!

Grammar

Spellcheck is the beginning of the process, not the end.

You can’t just click the handy ABC button and call it a day unfortunately. While it will catch misspellings of words, it doesn’t pick up everything. One of the most common mistakes is improper word usage. This can happen when a spellchecker doesn’t pick up a misspelled word because it spells another word. For example if your resume says ‘worked from home’ and you type it out accidentally ‘worked form home’, it may not be caught by the spellchecker. Errors like these require a pair of human eyes to catch them.

Know the difference of their, there, and they’re.

As mentioned previously, the spellchecker can miss certain types of errors, and this is one of them. Some words have multiple forms, and it’s very important that you use the correct one on your resume. There’s no shame in doing some light Googling to make sure you used the correct one!

Read it out loud.

When it comes to proofreading, reading out loud is extremely effective. You will easily pick up on awkward sentence structure and misused words this way. While you may be prone to letting them pass when reading in your head, saying it out loud will help you notice the mistakes when you read them.

Read it backwards.

We’re not suggesting you actually attempt to read it fluently backwards. However, starting at the end, and looking at each word from end to beginning keeps you from skipping over spelling errors because you’re too caught up in a sentence. Since you’re reading it backwards, you’ll focus more on individual words. Combining this and reading out loud is a good way to check both sentence structure and spelling without missing one or the other.

Check your numbers.

Stating that you increased revenue $1 million instead of $10 million is a significant difference. Make sure you double check all your statistics and numbers for accuracy. This is especially true for your personal information. If you type out your phone number incorrectly, you won’t receive any calls, no matter how qualified you are.

Formatting

Don’t go font crazy.

When constructing their resume, some candidates realize how many fun fonts Microsoft Word offers, and decide to use 10 different ones. Do not do this! It will make your resume distracting and disjointed. Stick with variations on the same font, and if you feel so inclined, only add in one additional font type.

Check bold and italics text separately.

When going through your resume, check all the normal text first, and then go back to check what is in bold and italics. Typically this text is formatted differently, whether it contains dates or company titles. By going through the similar portions together, you will pick up on inconsistencies and errors more easily.

Be consistent.

It’s incredibly challenging to follow a resume that changes between bullet points, paragraphs, graphs, and text boxes. Stay consistent in your resume. Don’t use different types of bullet points, and keep the spacing the same each time. If you put your time at a company in italics, they all should be in italics. Keep your formatting consistent across your resume, and it will make you seem organized and well put together. An inconsistent resume can be very off putting to read, and will find itself placed swiftly in the recycle pile.

Employ a second pair of eyes.

This is possibly one of the most important tips! Since you have likely composed your resume yourself, you will always be biased as an editor. Having someone else look at it is a smart move. They may pick up on errors you missed, and call out some odd structuring or wording. Make sure you also let them know how much you value their feedback. Even with all the steps above, a second proofreader will probably catch at least one thing you missed!

We hope you found these tips helpful! Your resume is one of the most important documents you will ever compose! Therefore, it’s important to put the same amount of effort into editing and proofreading as you did initially when you created it.