Miss Cat says you’d better pay attention to grammar when writing your resume. Mistakes can lead HR and hiring managers to suspect you’re uneducated, lack good communication skills or don’t pay enough attention to detail. Those are bad things.
So, you need to know basic grammar, possess proofreading skills, and be familiar with the nuances of resume composition.
When writing an objective or the summary of your background:
- Don’t describe your goals or experience using “I.” Don’t say, “I reduced technical support costs by twenty percent,” say “reduced technical support costs. “
- When talking about teams, never say “we” or “our.”
- When talking about experience and your accomplishments, use past tense action verbs: developed, led, created, engineered, analyzed and implemented.
- Use present tense action verbs to describe your current responsibilities.
Capitalization is tricky. The key is to be consistent throughout your document, and resist the temptation to start improper nouns with capital letters. So capitalize your previous job titles and division names – like Senior Software Developer, Engineering Division, but be careful about using capitals for words like “engineering” or “division” in the text itself.
Resumes often contain a mix of complete sentences and phrases. Most experts recommend using periods at the conclusion of both. Again, the best practice is consistency: Either don’t use periods, or insert periods at the conclusion of every statement.
Here’s another tip: Use a formal writing style with fewer abbreviations and contractions. That way, you’re less likely to get tripped up by a misplaced period or apostrophe. Some resume writers say you should avoid all contractions. Resumes and cover letters are, after all, formal documents.
Finally, remember spell check and grammar check won’t cure poor composition skills. They can even treat company names as mistakes. Always ask a qualified proofreader to review your resume.
For more on writing resumes, visit the Dice Resume Center.