It’s essential that you proofread your resume and any other documents, like cover letters, before submitting them as part of a job application. Paperwork with basic errors, like missing periods or mismatched fonts, makes it weeding out sloppy job seekers a simple task.
Don’t make it so easy on hiring managers. Try these tips when proofreading your resume.
1. Print out a hard copy.
Sometimes all it takes is a change of format to make typos and other mistakes pop out at you. Because we read something on paper differently than when it’s on a computer screen, printing out your resume and reading it is a very effective proofreading technique.
2. Read it out loud.
Reading the resume out loud is more than just a different way to go over your resume. It can also help you spot awkward word combinations and word flows. Reading your resume out loud can even help you come up with better phrasing that rolls of the tongue.
3. Read it in reverse.
Reading something in reverse breaks up natural terminology, removing words from their context and making it easier to spellcheck or spot capitalization errors. Some communications experts suggest putting your finger underneath each word as you read it to force a slower, more focused analysis of each word for spelling other errors.
4. Double-check bulleted lists.
The biggest mistake that resume writers make is being inconsistent when it comes to punctuating bulleted lists, i.e. some bullet points have periods and some don’t.
Punctuation needs to be consistent throughout your bullet points, and the proper approach is to use periods if all of your bullet points are complete sentences. If even just one bullet point is a single word or sentence fragment, don’t use periods on any list item.
5. Have someone else read it over.
You’ll be amazed what errors a friend or colleague can easily spot in something you have gone over again and again. Outside of typos, friend proofreaders can also pick up on the strength, tone and flow of your resume.
One technique of using a friend proofreader is to review the resume in tandem. After printing out the documents, read your copy aloud while your friend reads along silently, searching for errors and listening for awkward phrasing. Then switch off and read along while your friend reads aloud.
6. Pay attention to the overall look.
Proofreaders often concentrate on the body of the text and overlook errors in format. After proofreading the body, concentrate on the headings. Look for spelling, graphical and layout errors. Are the headings capitalized in a consistent manner? Whether each word is capitalized or just the first word, the headings should all be consistent.
Also, look at fonts. Mid-document font switches happen when a writer copies-and-pastes, and they give away the fact that they didn’t take the time to proofread the resume.
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