Three Essential Resume Must Haves
There are thousands of subjective opinions on how to write resumes and what should be included. Having 10 friends or colleagues review your resume will most likely result in 10 differing ideas on what’s correct. Having 10 professional resume writing services review your resume should result in more uniformity but there will still be variances. However, regardless of who writes your resume, there are three essential resume must haves that are indisputable.
100% Accurate Spelling
In times where everyone is using MS Word to write their resumes, you would think that spelling errors are no longer an issue, but you would be wrong. Certainly not nearly as common as in times past, it still occurs today that resumes get submitted with spelling errors. The most common spelling errors occurs in uppercase font where the spell checker may not be reviewing. Also, the spell checker will not flag any correctly spelled words that are completely incorrect. For example, you may have listed “personal” instead of “personnel” and completely rely on the grammar checker to catch it but it’s not always the case. Also, proper names such as company names, people, or terms are often misspelled. Be vigilant when proofreading.
Many people may be confident that their resume has 100% accurate spelling; however, perfect grammar is another issue. I cannot tell you how many times I see resumes with inaccurate grammar, ranging from a faux pas to egregious errors. The most common errors I see are those are listing job descriptions from the previous employers that a candidate no longer works and uses present tense verbs. For example, listing details for a job that ended two-years ago may have something like, “Responsible for supervising a team of 10 employees.” This description is written in the present tense for a job that ended two-years ago. It should read, “Supervised and mentored a team of 10 employees.” This verb tense agrees that it was in the past. Also, be careful with mixing up homophones, which are words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings. For example, know the difference between using “you’re/your” or “they’re/their” or “it’s/its.” These are common grammatical errors that will undermine your professionalism.
There are many fine details of a resume that are moot. Should I list keywords in a table, include them in my summary/experience, or both? Should I still include my physical address? How do I write numbers out? Should my bullet points have periods? What font/size should I use? And the list goes on and on… Regardless of who writes your resume or where they’re coming from, one thing that everyone will agree on is being consistent. Consistency and professionalism go hand-and-hand. For example, if you are going to include a period after a bullet point, make sure that EVERY bullet point ends with a period. If you are going to write out numbers, make certain that you write out EVERY number. If you use a serial comma (i.e. a comma used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items before “and” or “or”), maintain the serial comma use for EVERY sentence that requires it. If you decide to use Times New Roman 12-point font, ensure that ALL your font (besides headings) uses Times New Roman 12-point font.
Regardless of who writes your resume or where it’s reviewed, having accurate spelling, grammar, and consistency are three essential resume must haves. The best ways to avoid these errors are to read your resume slowly and out loud. Reading out loud will highlight mistakes far easier that reading quietly to yourself. Finally, have someone else read your resume as well. This will give you extra confidence in knowing that your resume is written in a professional manner.
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