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How Grammar And Formatting Makes Or Breaks Your Resume

Whether you’re entering the workforce, advancing in your field, or pursuing a career change, job searching is intimidating for even the most qualified candidates. Once you’ve found the ideal opportunity, there’s only one thing standing between you and the coveted job interview—your resume.

Resumes seem deceptively straightforward. Just list all of your previous career experience, right? Actually, it isn’t that simple. The modern resume demands excellence and specificity in spelling, grammar, and formatting. That’s why software like CorrectEnglish is such an asset in the resume-writing process.

Many resume mistakes in 2019 will result in your application being discarded immediately. The hiring manager can’t afford to hire someone who might publish articles with grammatical errors, for instance—so if you can’t purge them from your resume, you’ve forfeited your chance at the job.

If you want your resume to distinguish itself, these dos and don’ts are the best place to start.

DO Customize Each Resume

Your standard resume might be a fantastic pitch, but it’s also a generic one. Every job opportunity will have aspects that set it apart.

Maybe one position requires more interpersonal interaction; maybe another requires intense computer skills. Whatever the position’s unique demands may be, you should tailor your basic resume each time to ensure that your included details are as relevant as possible.

For the interpersonal job, your time working in a team is especially notable; for the computer job, a comparatively brief stint in HTML coding might be worth including.

Customize your resume appropriately for each opportunity.1 Acknowledgement of the specific job for which you’re applying also goes a long way towards proving your authentic interest in the position.

DO Include Contact Info

Even if you submit the most polished resume ever written, your efforts will be wasted if you don’t include your full name, a professional email address (make a new one if needed,) and probably also a phone number.2

DO Use Strong Action Verbs

Action verbs are critical when explaining your prior work experience. The words you might use every day in casual conversation simply aren’t strong enough.

Don’t say you “helped” a coworker to succeed—say you “guided” and “trained” them. Don’t say you “got others to work harder” when you could say you “influenced” them by setting a positive example.

Business News Daily writes, “Using strong words to describe your job duties helps a hiring manager quickly see what the focus of your job duties was and what impact you had at your company.”3

With the dos out of the way, it’s time to address the don’ts.

DON’T Skip Proofreading

Why is grammar so important in communication, anyway? Put simply, your grammar is your first impression.

This piece of advice might have grown stale with repetition, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Whatever else you do, don’t skip proofreading your resume. If possible, have a second person look it over. They’re likely to catch errors that you, being the resume’s author, potentially would have missed—such as accidentally switching “affect” versus “effect.”4

DON’T Let Spelling & Grammar Errors Slip By

Beyond proofreading, don’t be afraid to take additional steps towards eradicating every possible grammar or spelling error. Try printing your resume, possibly with a different font, in order to see it differently. You could copy all of its content into a blank email for similar results.5

Unfortunately, regardless of your chosen method, even the most dedicated human proofreader is limited. An AI, on the other hand, doesn’t get tired, distracted, or overly accustomed to reading the same content over and over again.

That’s why CorrectEnglish is the resume-polishing tool you never knew you needed.

CorrectEnglish weighs your writing against over 63,000 grammar rules as you type. The software works on both desktop and mobile—wherever you prefer to edit your resume—and it takes grammar, spelling, and context into account simultaneously.

Add to this CorrectEnglish’s cutting-edge plagiarism checker and you have the best way to learn and/or improve your English grammar online.

Rather than relying on your own eyes (or a friend’s) to polish your resume to a shine, you can trust CorrectEnglish to mark and explain anything that requires improvement—every time.

DON’T Include Outdated Or Irrelevant Content

Like any other form of writing, resume formatting expectations have changed over time.

Don’t include an objective (i.e. “My objective is to work full-time in elementary education”) unless you’re in an extremely unique situation, such as switching career paths entirely.

Don’t list work experience that’s wholly unrelated to your desired position. Unless you’re fresh out of higher education, your summer waitressing job is no longer relevant, even if it serves as a metaphor for your people skills.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t waste space on fluffy personal information, even if you think you’re very interesting. Your hobbies, your age, or your pets don’t matter to a potential employer. Deeply personal information such as marital status or religious beliefs also needn’t be disclosed—your ability to keep that information private is protected by law.6

DON’T Make These Common Mistakes

To complete the compilation of don’ts, here’s a succinct list of the most common grammatical mistakes found on resumes.7 These include:

  • Homophone mistakes (i.e. “there” vs. “their”)
  • Run-on sentences
  • Using apostrophes in plural words
  • Random capitalization (i.e. “Resume”)
  • Changing tenses (i.e. present to past)

If you follow these dos and don’ts, your resume is well-equipped to escape the slush pile of promptly discarded candidates. You’re ready for anything, so don’t be afraid—apply to that dream job with your best foot forward.

CorrectEnglish is the best grammar-checking software for both native speakers and English language learners. To learn more about how CorrectEnglish helps you improve or learn English grammar online, visit

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