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How to Proofread Your Resume

Before you send in your resume, take a moment to double-check these items:

  • Is the pertinent personal data correct - phone number, address, work address?
  • Is your highest educational attainment shown first?
  • Does your objective briefly state your employment goals without getting too specific to rule you out of consideration for other jobs?
  • Does your objective focus on what you can bring to the employer rather than what you want from the employer?
  • Have you included professional courses that support your candidacy?
  • Have you avoided listing irrelevant job responsibilities or job titles?
  • Does each position history list your most important job responsibilities first?
  • Does your resume emphasize the contributions, achievements and problems you have successfully solved during your career?
  • Have you made information prominent by underlining, bolding, italicizing, using bullets and paying attention to the organization and layout of the page?
  • Have you included any volunteer or community service activities that can lend strength to your candidacy?
  • Is the resume long enough to present yourself in a good fashion but short enough to make the employer bring you in for more information?
  • Do your phrases begin, wherever possible, with powerful action verbs and phrases?

Resume Proofreading Checklist

Print a copy and mark it up to help you gauge your progress.

Spelling Mistakes
To avoid spelling mistakes:
__  Don't use words with which you aren't familiar.
__  Use a dictionary as you write.
__  Perform a spell check on your finished resume.
__ Carefully read every word in your resume. If you write "from" instead of "form," your spell check will be unable  to detect your mistake.
__  Have a friend or two proofread your resume for you.
Punctuation Mistakes
Things to look for:
__ Periods at the end of all full sentences.
__ Be consistent in your use of punctuation.
__  Always put periods and commas within quotation marks. (i.e., Won awards including the "John H. Malcom Memorial Service Award.")
__ Avoid using exclamation points.
Grammatical Mistakes
Grammar hang-ups to watch for:
__ Do not switch tenses within your resume. The duties you currently perform should be in present tense (i.e., write reports), but ones you may have performed at past jobs should be in past tense (i.e., wrote reports).
__ Capitalize all proper nouns.
__ When expressing numbers, write out all numbers between one and nine (i.e., one, five, seven), but use numerals for all numbers above 10 (i.e., 11, 25, 108).
__ If you begin a sentence with a numeral, spell out that numeral (i.e., Eleven service awards won while employed.).
__ Make sure your date formats are consistent (i.e., 11/22/96 or November 22, 1996, or 11.22.96. Choose one and stick with it.).
Choose Your Words Carefully
Phrase yourself well:
__ Be on the lookout for the following easily confused words: accept (to receive), except (to exclude) all right (correct), alright (this is not a word) affect (to bring about change), effect (result) personal (private), personnel (staff members) role (a character assigned or a function), roll (to revolve)
__ Use action words (i.e., wrote reports, increased revenues, directed staff).
Other Potential Mistakes
Don't forget to check:
__ Dates of all prior employment.
__ Your address and phone number -- are they still current and correct?
__ The number of returns separating your categories: are they consistent?
__ Abbreviation of state names. All state abbreviations are two letters -- no periods. For example, New York is abbreviated NY, California is CA, and Florida is FL. Look up other state abbreviations.
Design Is Important
Keep the following tips in mind:
__ Don't overcrowd your resume; Allow for plenty of white space.
__ Keep your resume to one page whenever possible.
__ Keep the number of fonts you use to a minimum -- two at the most.
__ Use a font that is easy to read. Times Roman works well.
__ Do not justify the lines of type on your resume. Allow the right side of the page to "rag."
__ Do not over use capitalization, italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features.
__ Make sure your name, address, and a phone number appear on your resume and all correspondence, preferably at the top of the page.
__ Print your resume on white or cream paper using a good-quality printer. Second and third-generation photocopies are a no-no.
__ Print on one side of the paper only.
What To Omit
Do not put any of the following on your resume:
__ Salary history.
__ Sex, age, race, marital status, or other similar personal information.

Next: Final Resume Checklist

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