Turning in a resume that hasn’t been proofread, or that has been proofread poorly, can really hurt you during your job search. A sloppy resume makes you look like a sloppy worker, which means that a busy human-resources professional is likely to toss your application out early. Proofreading well requires a highly specialized skill set. However, most people can ensure that their resume is free of errors by using the following techniques:
—Proofread on paper. People read on paper differently than they do on the screen, and seeing your resume in print can help you identify mistakes. You can also increase the font size so that mistakes become more glaring.
—Read your resume aloud. Reading aloud works for the same reason. Sometimes the eye skips over something that’s wrong, but when you hear the same sentence aloud, the mistake jumps out at you.
—Read your resume backward. The goal of this tip is the same as the previous two. Reading backward breaks up the flow of your resume, thus helping you see individual words and characters rather than sentences and ideas. This approach also slows you down, which can be useful if you’re normally a fast reader or a skimmer.
—Check your spelling and word usage. If you’re even a little bit unsure about the spelling or usage of a word, get out the dictionary and check that you’ve used it correctly. English is rife with words that have different meanings depending upon the way the word is spelled.
—Use consistent punctuation. Place a period at the end of every full sentence, avoid exclamation points, and make sure that punctuation appears inside any relevant quotation marks.
—Check numbers for accuracy. Errors often creep into resumes in the dates of employment. If you’re updating an old resume, you should also make sure that your address and contact information are current.