A recruiter or hiring manager only takes less than 30 seconds to look at resumes. So, it’s essential to learn how to make yours stand out to increase your chances of getting a job interview.
Do you want to know how to polish and perfect your resume? These 29 tips for proofreading your resume will help you make an impression on recruiters.
Why Do You Need to Proofread Your Resume?
Proofreading a resume gives you a leg up in the competition. The chances of landing a gig are higher because you’ve marketed yourself well on a piece of paper. More people will also be interested in hiring you because your experiences are clear, relevant, and concise.
Many experts say that a well-written resume is half the job done. That’s because your paper is the sole basis of a recruiter for judging potential candidates. So even if it takes up a lot of your time, proofreading should never be skipped.
What Should You Proofread in a Resume Before Sending the File?
After editing your resume for flow, style, and organization, you are finally ready to proofread it. Take a look at the different aspects to look for when proofreading.
- Missing and double words.
- Comma splices.
- Run-on sentences.
- Inconsistent verb tense.
- Inconsistent pronoun.
- Accuracy of information.
Proofread Your Resume: Tips and Tricks
Think Like an Employer
The first thing when proofreading your resume is to adopt an employer mindset. Write, edit, revise, and proofread your document according to the eyes of the recruiter.
Think about the sentence transitions that will give them a smooth reading experience. Include keywords about the job description that will impress. And you must consider the appearance of the resume in print.
Watch out for actual spelling errors and grammar mistakes, especially if the manager is a grammar nerd. Look closely at the writing style of the job posting, the use of Oxford commas, and the bullet points.
You can also research the style preference of the company. You might get plus points for adhering to their style guide.
Edit Out the Unnecessary
Your resume activity should not just include fixing autocorrect errors and ensuring correct grammar. It should also list your relevant tasks, responsibilities, and duties.
One way to edit out the unnecessary is by using the STAR interview method. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. You must tell a particular story to answer their question and engage meaningfully.
Print It Out
Editing and proofreading your resume on paper can be more beneficial because you see the words more clearly. Rather than using the Track Changes feature on Word or the Google Docs spellchecker, you can directly write on the paper to correct mistakes.
Learning the different proofreading symbols is the trick to proofreading on paper. You’ll be able to mark the minor typos, read every line to guarantee complete sentences, and fix punctuation mistakes.
Once you’re done proofreading your resume on paper, make the edits on the computer and reprint.
Line by Line, Word by Word
Don’t just skim and scan your job search content. Read each line carefully, then go over every word thoroughly. This step takes a lot of patience, but it’s the most effective method to catch silly typos, missing words, and double words.
Some common typos you’ll find on resumes include confusing between “your” and “you’re,” “the the,” and missing articles. Capitalization errors also become more visible when you read line by line and word by word.
Read It Out Loud
The resume may sound error-free until you attempt to read it out loud. You’ll find yourself tripping over words that don’t flow well and poor choices of words. The hiring manager may also not understand your writing, causing you to miss the interview stage.
Pro tip: have someone read your paper aloud. Edit as you catch him or her reading mistakes in sentence structure, flow, and readability issues.
Read It Backward
The most common reason we miss typos is that our brains automatically read them correctly. We don’t always mind the inaccurate sequence of letters or the double letters because of our brain’s autocorrect function. One way to reverse this is by reading backward.
These techniques will force your brain to search for spelling errors. But it won’t help you find grammar and clarity issues.
The spell check feature in our computers is not always accurate. They cannot spot contextual errors like confusing between “your” and “you’re” or “see” and “sea.” Common spelling errors include single and double letters like “embarasment” and “embarrassment.”
Silent letters are also part of the most common spelling errors in English. Many forget to put the letter d in words like “hankerchief” and “handkerchief.”
Have Someone Else Proofread It
No need to hire a professional proofreader at this point. All you need to do is have someone else read it and correct any error they find. It can be a friend, colleague, family, or classmate.
Having someone proofread your work provides a fresh pair of eyes on your document. They will look for spelling, grammar, and punctuation issues you didn’t find on your resume.
Review When You’re Refreshed
Only edit and proofread your resume once you are in the right headspace. Ensure you’ve gotten enough sleep to read an entire paper full of words. It’d help if you also had a clear desk with ample lighting when proofreading.
Try writing your resume at night, then proofreading it the next day when you wake up. Or you can write the resume in the morning and proofread it before bed. Just make sure you still have enough energy for the activity.
Check the Font
The font is the most crucial part of checking your resume’s format. Make sure it’s readable and clear, like Calibri, Garamond, Helvetica, or Cambria. You can also try Times New Roman and Arial to keep the paper formal.
Do not use overly stylized fonts. Comic Sans, Papyrus, and Brush Script are an instant no-no for recruiters.
The optimal font size is around 10 to 12. Try 10 first, then size up with what you think is better. Do not go below 10 if one page is not enough. Instead, remove unnecessary words and phrases.
Print in a Different Font
Printing your paper in a different font is helpful for spotting more errors. If you’re accustomed to using Times New Roman, the paper will look too neat for you to proofread.
Print the paper in Calibri or Cambria. All the typos and incorrect punctuation on your document will suddenly appear like magic.
If you don’t want to have trouble printing the final copy, you should have two copies. Create a copy of the original file and adjust the font in the new one.
Try listing the constant mistakes you commit on your resumes, cover letters, and other business documents. This will help you prioritize your common errors while making final corrections.
For example, you might have trouble using complete sentences on lists. You might also get confused between “hear” and “here.”
If you proofread online, use the “Find” feature on your computer or the “Command + F” function.
Double Check Choice of Words
The words and phrases you choose in your application document can significantly impact the employer. Changing the word “event” to the actual event name could change their impression of you. It also helps to be specific and action-driven with your verbs.
Remove words that describe ordinary responsibilities like “handles everyday office functions.” Saying “oversaw administrative tasks routinely” can also be a turn-off to companies.
Many people forget the apostrophe between contractions. It’s a tiny error that has a significant effect on your employability. Make sure to include apostrophes for “it’s” if you mean “it is” and “I’m” for “I am.”
Other examples of contractions you may use in your resume include “you’re,” “I’ll,” “they’re,” and “we’re.”
Check Pronoun Use
Consistency in pronoun use is not a common error when proofreading resumes. That’s because you’re most likely talking only about yourself, previous experiences, and academic background.
But you still need to check for inconsistencies just in case. Use a singular pronoun if the noun you’re referring to is singular. But if it’s plural, use the plural pronoun. The one exception is the use of “they” when referring to gender-neutral persons.
Review Verb Tense
Subject-verb agreement is also part of proofreading resumes. Since you’re most likely the subject of each statement, all you need to worry about is the verb tense.
If you have already left the job, make sure to use the past tense. But if you’re still on the job, use the present tense. Stay consistent with the verb tenses for every bullet point.
Check Possessive Pronoun
If you have possessive pronouns on your resume, make sure you’re using them correctly. Do not add apostrophes on “your,” “yours,” “ours,” and “theirs.” People also often confuse “their” and “they’re” and “its” and “it’s.”
Are you submitting an online resume? If yes, you can improve it by adding hyperlinks to your LinkedIn profile, portfolio, articles, and email. Make sure to embed this additional information so the hiring manager can learn more about you.
Double-check if the links you use lead to the correct destinations. Make sure you’re using active links so as not to disappoint the reader.
Scrutinize for Homophones
You might also spot a few homophones on your cover letter and resume aside from “their” and “they’re.” Words that have the same sound but different spellings and meanings are homophones.
One example of a homophone pair is “accept” and “except.” Don’t say, “Please except the cover letter and resume attached.” “Role” and “roll” are also common mistakes you’ll see in business letters.
Many job seekers think injecting buzz words into their resumes will make them more noticeable. While a few of these terms are acceptable, too much can be an immediate turn-off. Demonstrate your knowledge judiciously to avoid leaving a negative impression.
Here are some examples of buzzwords to avoid:
- Extensive experience.
- Cutting edge.
- Works well with others.
- Problem solver.
Check the Proper Names and Headings
It’s easy to overlook misspellings in proper names. Many online editors do not flag them as misspellings if they are capitalized. Go back to your resume once more to read every company name, college major, and employer’s name.
Your resume headings should include “Employment Experience,” “Volunteer Experience,” “Extracurricular Involvement,” and “Research Experience.”
Check Your Contact Details
Don’t be one of those people who don’t get a call back after the interview just because they forgot to include their contact number. Ensure your email, number, and LinkedIn profiles are correctly spelled and hyperlinked.
Remove Lengthy Sentences
Did you know hiring managers do not spend over thirty seconds reviewing a resume? Make your paper worth their while by removing lengthy sentences. Try including relevant experiences only and using the best words.
Keep your sentences concise and fluff-free. You can also remove articles “a,” “the,” and “an” or helping verbs like “may,” “had,” and “to be.”
Curate Your Bullet Points
One common resume mistake that employees make is when they write their entire life story in it. The company won’t read your full paper against hundreds of other resumes they receive.
A hiring manager will more likely notice your resume if it is optimized for skimmability. That’s why a professional resume writer makes their bullet points clearer to display written communication skills.
To avoid formatting issues, only include three to six bullets for every career you’ve had. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve accomplished in your previous job or how long you’ve stayed there. Your recruiter won’t bother finding out everything.
Show Your Soft Skills
There are many unnoticed issues on resumes, and how you articulate your soft skills is one of them. For a potential employer, it’s not enough that you show “strong communication skills.” One essential step in a resume review is being specific.
Discuss sentence by sentence how you can exhibit attributes like “effective communicator” and “strong leader.” For example, you can discuss one digital marketing campaign you led and how it became successful.
Include Non-Traditional Work
Your non-traditional work also affects employers’ hiring decision, so make sure to include it in your resume template.
One of the several resume tips you should follow is to include your part-time work or short-term projects. This is vital, especially if the “non-traditional” work is relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
Whether you blogged or freelanced, these occupations reflect your skills. Being commissioned by brands to create content for a short-term campaign can also be part of your resume.
Aside from fixing your spelling, grammar, and resume format, you should also ensure keywords are on your document. It’s a crucial phase of resume proofreading that will easily catch the recruiter’s attention during the hiring process.
Search for the job description for which you’re applying. Include the keywords on your resume using bullet points. Doing so also helps you self-check if you’re fit for the job.
Proofread it Again Later
Once you’re finished editing your resume, it’s time to proofread it again for any typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation mistakes. Go through all the words and sentences of your finished paper to ensure that it’s the best-written resume you’ve ever produced.
Reviewing your resume one last time is an essential step because it helps you see issues you’ve initially missed. If possible, use proofreading symbols on your paper resume. You’ll be surprised at the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors you spot.
You may use an online grammar checker like Grammarly to highlight these mistakes quickly. This software program.
Consider Hiring an Editor
One extra step you may take is to hire an editor who can review your application materials. They will spot errors in your resume, cover letter, and other documents and give you objective feedback.
Editors have worked with several resume writers, so they know the common errors to spot. From contextual spelling errors to bad grammar, they will help you maintain a professional-looking resume.
Look for an editor whose specialization is business documents. You’ll find many of them on Proofed.com. The company works with different formats and edits. They can also submit your paper in less than 24 hours.
Always Proofread Your Resume
Everyone makes mistakes. But that’s what this list of tips to proofread your resume is for. Remember that hiring managers only scan your resume once, which means you can only make a first impression once.
Read each word of your resume aloud to catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation issues. Double-check your choice of words, format, and conciseness.