The Worst Resume Grammar Mistakes

The Worst Resume Grammar Mistakes

Most hiring managers spend a few seconds scanning each of the thousands of resumes they receive for a job opening, and don't read any of them in detail. This might seem like an excuse to be careless with your resume's grammar and spelling, but the opposite is true.


Say your resume does get chosen for a closer look. You won't get an interview if it's riddled with mistakes or grammar errors. And to some hiring managers, mistakes jump out like a sore thumb even during a quick scan of a resume. Be sure to avoid these common grammar mistakes when creating your resume.

1. Homophone mistakes

All too common, you get in a hurry to finish and submit your resume that you don't notice you've mixed up “their” and “there.” Or “two,” “to,” and “too,” or “you're” and “your.” These homophones—or words that sound alike but mean different things and are spelled differently—are so commonly confused that even diligent professionals mix them up in their resumes.

Take the time to fully proofread your resume to make sure it makes sense before sending it along. And if you need to, sound out each homophone to make sure you're using the correct one.

2. Run-On Sentences

Some people tend to think that bullet lists entitle them to simply add lists of tasks, duties, and responsibilities separated by commas. But if you're writing your resume in full sentences, you need to remember that it has to sound coherent.

Don't let your list of accomplishments and your employment history get away from you. Split your run-on sentences up into coherent smaller sentences that make more sense.

3. Using Apostrophes in Plural Words

If your resume highlights how you’ve "created the company website and performed IT’S maintenance,” that errant apostrophe will jump out at the hiring manager—and not in a good way. The difference between a plural and possessive or contraction is simple: if you want to add an apostrophe to a word like "its," ask yourself if it makes sense to read it as "it is.” If so, you've got a contraction, not a plural. Plural words don't get apostrophes.

4. Random Capitalization

This is a very common mistake that happens, presumably, when people mean to put emphasis on a particular word: "enclosed is my Resume for your consideration." Resume is not a name or title—it doesn't need to be capitalized.

5. Changing Tenses

This happens a lot in resumes, because people tend to focus more on the action part of the word than the tenses. In your past experience, you need to choose whether to write it in past tense or the more neutral present tense—but not both.

Keep tenses consistent throughout the resume. If you're writing in the past tense, it's less egregious to write your current job duties in the present tense, but overall it's better to keep it consistent. While this may escape an initial scan of your resume, further scrutiny will show a lack of attention to detail.

Job hunting is a tricky business, because you never know what one person is going to love. But everyone respects a well-written, consistently-formatted, error-free resume. The last thing you do before you forward your resume to a hiring manager is perform an extensive re-read to make sure you don't have errors. And if possible, have someone else double-check it to make sure it's squeaky clean. Try using LiveCareer's Resume Check to clean up any grammar mistakes or typos so you'll know your resume is flawless before you send it on.

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