Resume Writing Blues: Eight Common Blunders And What You Can Do To Fix Them

Posted: 4/23/2014

By: Jessica Kleinman, Quantix Content and Social Media Editor

As a Content Editor here at Quantix, I have sifted through literally thousands of resumes. Yet time and time again, I continue to see the same grammatical mistakes. Below is a list of the most common mistakes I see and what you can do to fix them.

1) If it's not a proper noun (a SPECIFIC person, place or thing), DON'T CAPITALIZE IT! I can't tell you the number of resumes I've seen where the First Letter Of Every Word Is Capitalized (annoying, right?). In fact almost every resume I receive appears to be a little capitalization happy. Yes, I understand that you want every word on your resume to stand out and look "important," but you aren't doing yourself any favors by capitalizing unnecessary terms.

2) DO NOT use an apostrophe to form plurals (meaning more than one) of nouns (a person, place or thing). The apostrophe denotes possession/ownership (meaning it belongs or relates to someone or something). Candidates seem to add in the unnecessary apostrophe because the word in question may look odd without it. In reality, this is grammatically incorrect.

Here's an example:

Wrong: "Extensive experience using Transforms (MST), Patches (MSP) and Merge modules for creating MSI's." The "MSI's" in question are not in possession of anything, therefore no apostrophe is needed (thus, "MSI's" should be "MSIs").

Right: "Extensive experience using Transforms (MST), Patches (MSP) and Merge modules for creating MSIs." Why? Because MSIs is the PLURAL form of the noun.

3) Candidates often get confused with number usage. If the number is below 10, spell it out. Numbers 10 and above SHOULD NOT be spelled out (unless it is the first word of the sentence or the last word of the sentence, in which case the general rule of thumb is that the number should be spelled out). This is a quick and dirty rule that is often overlooked.


Wrong: "Worked on twenty different projects in a period of two months."

Right: "Worked on 20 different projects in a period of two months."


Image Credit: All About Writing

4) Consistency is key. If you write January xxxx to February xxxx, make sure that all of your dates match (as opposed to having Jan. to Feb. for one position and January to February for another). Consistency shows that you care about what you're putting in front of the hiring manager as opposed to just slapping things on your resume and hoping for the best. It also shows that you took the time to review your resume and demonstrates your attention to detail. 

5) Ampersands (&) may look pretty, but you SHOULD NOT use them in place of the word "and" in formal writing (unless it is for a company name, i.e., AT&T). This basic rule of thumb is often overlooked and can be easily avoided. Think about it, does it really take that much more effort to write out the word "and" than it does to use your shift key for that ampersand? No? In that case, save yourself the hassle and write out the word in the first place!

6) This one goes for healthcare positions (and was mentioned in an earlier post). You'd be surprised by how often I receive resumes with "HIPPA" instead of "HIPAA" (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). For some reason candidates will put HIPPA knowing full well that the proper abbreviation is HIPAA. Perhaps our fingers are naturally drawn to typing HIPPA instead of HIPAA because it is easier, but having the wrong abbreviation on your resume shows that you lack attention to detail.

7) Ensure vs. insure. Candidates seem to get confused with what term to use in their resumes. Here are the basics: "Ensure" means to guarantee (i.e., ensured best practices were followed accordingly). "Insure" is for references to insurance (i.e., the policy insured his life). In almost ALL cases, the proper term is ENSURE, not INSURE (because INSURE deals with insurance).

8) Spellcheck is golden. Yes, there is technical jargon in a resume that spellcheck is going to say is wrong when it is in fact correct, but that shouldn't deter you from using it! Common terms should never, ever be misspelled on a professional resume.

So what should you take from all of this? Attention to detail is absolutely necessary. Carefully reviewing your resume for grammatical and spelling mistakes shows that you truly care about how you present yourself professionally and will certainly help you stand out from the rest of the pack.