Improving Your Resume Spelling and Proofreading Strategies to get Hired

26 October 2018 Reading Time: 6 minutes

When it comes to resumes, spelling seems to come into the conversation at every point. At the beginning, you must basic question: resume, résume, or résumé? Once you’ve finished writing your resume, then you’re tasked with removing any-and-all typographical errors. How do you ensure you’re picking the right spelling and not making mistakes that’ll have your resume rejected? It’s easier than you think. With the below guide, you can ensure you’ll make the best impression on the recruiter and avoid losing out on your dream job because of simple mistakes.

Resume, résume, or résumé?

This might be what brought you here. Resume seems to have three common variations – these differ by country of origin, industry standard, preference, and more. First off, you should never title your resume (in your resume header) with any variation of resume. The recruiter knows what your resume is – you don’t have to beat them over the head with it.

In general, the spelling ‘resume’ is the US standard. Résumé comes from French, which includes the two acute accents ‘é’. Résume, on the other hand, is a mixture of the two, and is arguably the least preferred spelling. A basic rule of thumb is to match the spelling your recruiter has included in the job description.

Naming your file

One of the places the spelling of resume will become most important is in naming your resume file when sending it to your employer. When doing this, it’s best to use the US ‘resume’ standard. This is because accents (i.e., é) do not translate well when being saved as computer files. Moreover, special characters can transform depending on device and software tools used to view it. Keep your file names simple and informative. LastName_FirstNameResume_JobPosition. Using this format, the recruiter can easily pull up your resume without having to rummage through thousands of “MyResume” files.

Sending emails

Another area where resume spelling comes into play is in emails, both introductory emails and follow-up emails. Again, in these cases, you should stick to ‘resume’ as industry-standard.

Tip: learn more about how to send follow-up emails after speaking with a potential employer.

The importance of proofreading

So we’ve got the spelling of resume out of the way – now what?

Chris Paye (general manager of Jobs.ie) once said, “If you’re not willing to spend a little extra time ensuring your CV is correct and doesn’t have any spelling or grammar errors, that’s a red flag for me.” This sentiment is shared among many hiring managers. While it’s a known fact recruiters detest spelling errors, more than 50% of resumes have some form of typographical error when submitted for review. It’s clear applicants are lacking in strategies to keep this from happening.

Tip: Enhancv has a built-in content analyzer that will help you catch errors in your resume and improve your content.

Eight typographical errors to avoid on your resume

The oxford comma

Also known as the serial comma, the oxford comma is used to break-up conjunctions. This comes into play when describing your previous experience on your resume. For example, “I was responsible for content creation, content distribution and customer outreach”. This doesn’t read as well as “I was responsible for content creation, content distribution, and customer outreach”. It’s a simple addition, but an impactful one.

Manger vs. manager

This can be an easy mistake to make on your resume. Accidentally spelling manager as manger typically results from those who rely solely on spellchecker to catch their typos. As manger is a word on its own, spell checking programs may not always flag the mistake.

University vs. university

Particularly among those that are writing their first resume, it’s easy to fall into the trap of capitalising the ‘U’ in university. This is only required if you’re using university in the context of the name of a university. For example, “University of Dublin” would use a capitalised ‘U’ as it is denoting a name. “I’ve been studying at university for three years” would use a small ‘u’, as it is a noun, not a title.

Defiantly vs. definitely

Another easy mistake to make on your resume. Remember, you definitely didn’t make any typos on your resume.

Judgement vs. judgment

This spelling error can be permissible depending on the context. In general, judgment (without the e) is the standard in the US. In the UK and elsewhere, judgement is used. You may want to keep this in mind if applying for jobs in either sector. While it’s not technically incorrect to use either spelling, you’re better of sticking to the spelling that matches the expectation of your recruiter.

Identity vs. identify

When describing yourself, ensure you identify as something rather than identity as something. This can fly under your radar quite easily if you don’t keep it in mind. With only one letter of a difference, your attention to detail is paramount here.

The reason ‘because’

The reason ‘because’ is an example of a grammatical error many people make. The word that should follow the phrase “the reason…” is that. Not because. “The reason that I’m right for your firm is I bring expertise that currently lacks and is preventing you from growing”.

Don’t forget homophones

Homophones are words that sounds the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. The most common example of this is “to, too, and two”. But there are also others. Keep in mind other common homophobes that are typical in a resume including:

  • Then / than
  • Affect / effect
  • You’re / your
  • Complement / compliment
  • It’s / its

Then / than

Typically, use than when referring two thing against each other (or making comparisons). Use then when indicating a passage of time. For example, “Rather than starting with individual interviews, we start with group interviews. Then, we ask applicants to come in on their own”.

Affect / effect

Affect is used when there is an impact on something. On the other hand, effect is a noun. “My strategy affecting business efficiency and grew profit margins by 10%. This effect led to my promotion”.

You’re / your

You’re is the contraction or compound of the words ‘you’ and ‘are’. Your is used as a pronoun. “Your company culture is one that attracts me. As a manager, you’re a great example to all of your employees”.

Complement / compliment

Complement (with the double e) is used when something completes something else. Compliment (with the i) is an expression of praise. “My marketing expertise would truly complement your current strategy. In the same vein, please send my compliment to the current team on the amazing work they have done so far”.

It’s / its

Similar to ‘you’re’, it’s is the contraction of the words ‘it’ and ‘is’. Its refers to possession, it describes that something belongs to something else. “It’s wonderful to meet you today. I’ve been keeping an eye on your company’s growth over the last few years and its revenue has been skyrocketing”.

Proofreading strategies to avoid errors

Reading backwards

One way to spot mistakes is to go through your resume from the end and read backwards. Reading each word in the opposite direction will make you spend time on the word and notice incorrect letters faster. This is especially useful when you’ve spent a long time writing your resume and don’t have the opportunity to take time away from it before reviewing.

List your weak spots

If you’re aware of the things you struggle with, you’ll benefit from writing a list of the things you slip up on and using it as a checklist for review after writing your resume. You can use the eight common resume mistakes above as a sample checklist.

Google Docs Revision History

When writing resumes on Google Docs, you’re more likely to make mistakes on areas you’ve just edited. You can look through the revision history to see any changes that have been made and spot any mis-edits.

Try a different format

The longer you stare at the same piece of paper the less likely you are to pay attention to its details. Your attention span can only endure for so long. To do this, you can print your resume out and review it in a physical form instead of on your device.

Tip: With Enhancv, you can change your resume format from double column to single column, single column to compact, and more. This can be used to refresh your mind when checking for mistakes.

Change your font

Changing the font of your resume will transform the way you look at your content. The best way to do this is to change to a different type of font. For example, if you’re using a Serif font, change to a sans serif font and so on.

Content Analyzer

When building your resume with Enhancv, you can make use of our content analyzer. It’s based on hundreds of resumes to highlight common mistakes that are found across several industries. It will also suggests ways to enhance your content – including flagging moments you have forgotten to quantify your achievements.

Ask a friend to review

Asking a friend or colleague to look over your resume will bring fresh eyes to your content and will bring an external perspective to how things flow, too. You can utilise Enhancv’s built-in referral link to accomplish this.

When it comes to resume spelling

The spelling of resume may differ from person-to-person, but the expectations of an applicant are pretty much the same no matter where you go. Spelling mistakes will cost your opportunities if you don’t take the time to spot the typos as they appear. More than half of resumes have typos, so ensuring yours isn’t one of them will allow you to stand out. Using the strategies to spot the mistakes and familiarizing yourself with common errors can be the difference between ending up in the recruiter’s Yes pile, and their No pile.

Dean O'Reilly

Psychology student with keen interest in academic research. Currently exploring the world of marketing distribution and content creation with Enhancv to help people get closer to the job of their dreams. Read more about my journey to Enhancv on Fast Company or Gay Times.

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