Resumes: Read Yours Out Loud for Proofreading Perfection

Posted by Rob Riggins

Read your resume out loudIn an age of fast paced communications and grammatical error ridden text messages, we sadly come across typos all the time in our day-to-day lives. While a message sent to a friend containing a typo has few repercussions, one place these errors can make or break you is on your resume.

Misspellings are the bane of everyone’s existence and unfortunately auto correct can’t always save you. Proofreading your resume is essential and no matter how many times you read and re-read what you’ve written, sometimes your mind still sees what it wants to rather than what is actually there in black and white.

You want a fresh set of eyes on your resume and we don’t mean your intended hiring manager – not yet. It’s good to have someone else proofread your resume and take the time to look for any typos or awkward phrasing before you hit send.

But that alone is not always foolproof. Moe Hutt, ClearedJobs.Net Recruiting Consultant, shared her experience coaching a job seeker prior to our most recent Cleared Job Fair. Moe pointed out two typos on the individual’s resume. That shocked the job seeker because several others (including spell check!) reviewed her resume. None of them caught the errors.

Why does it matter?

You only have one chance to make a first impression and in many cases it’s your resume’s job to make it a good one. Think of it as your own personal advertisement that is selling you for the position you’re pursuing. Poor communication skills including spelling mistakes or sentence fragments do not belong there and they do impact your chance of getting the job you want.

When screening resumes, some recruiters and hiring managers eliminate any cleared job seekers with typos on their resume. As one Hiring Manager shared with us, every aspect of your job search should be your very best self, whether you are communicating to them verbally or through your writing. If your best efforts showcase errors, what does that lead them to think about the quality of the work you would do for their organization? What does it say about your professionalism or even your amount of interest in the job opening?

To maximize the potential of your resume and make sure it really represents you at your best, read it out loud. Hearing the words you’ve crafted actually being spoken can make you think differently about the way you’ve phrased your information.

When we read silently we often miss errors, as we read too quickly and allow our mind to unknowingly filter out our own mistakes. Reading out loud forces you to slow down and look at each word individually, helping you find any misspellings, punctuation errors, or poor word choices.

At this point in the process you’ve surely taken advantage of spell check on your device but don’t rely on it solely. A word may be spelled correctly, but it doesn’t mean it necessarily fits the proper context.

Some common mistakes that spell check will not find:

  • Its and it’s — Its refers to possession whereas it’s is a contraction of it is.
  • Your and you’re — Possession vs. a contraction of you are.
  • They’re, there and their — They’re there, but it’s not their office.
  • Affect vs. Effect — Your actions affect (verb) sales or your actions had an effect (noun) on sales.
  • Would have vs. would of — Would of is never correct, even when you’re speaking.
  • Then and than — Then (next or subsequently) sales increased to a level higher than (comparative) they had ever been.
  • Farther and further — We traveled farther (actual distance) down the road, so we had gotten further (theoretical distance) into our conversation than we expected.

You’re on your way to proofreading perfection but you can go even further by printing your resume when reading it instead of always opting for the computer screen. Visually seeing the words on paper is another step towards distancing yourself from your own writing and attempting to see it from a new perspective.

Some experts also recommend reading your resume backwards. This is another strategy meant to force you to really pay attention to each individual word versus seeing the big picture, where you may miss those pesky typos that can keep your resume from reaching the top of the recruitment pile.

It takes time and attention to detail to be confident your resume is perfectly polished, but it’s well worth the effort to guarantee you put your best foot forward and truly sell your best self.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 12:40 pm

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