4 Résumé Red Flags that May Cost You the Interview
Guest post: Written by Brittney Mayer on May 13, 2017
Although some may feel the interview is the most important part of the job hunt, in many ways, it’s actually the easiest. By the time you enter the interview, you’ve already done two critical things: 1) Found a job opening for which you qualify, and 2) Interested the hiring manager enough to get through the door.
The number one no-no when it comes to your résumé is also, thankfully, the easiest to fix: the obvious typo. Having a big fat typo right in the middle of your résumé is an instant warning sign to prospective employers — especially in today’s auto-spellcheck world.
In particular, blatant typos can indicate to whoever is reviewing your résumé that you lack attention to detail. You may simply have been typing too quickly, but when you tell the hiring manager how excited you are to “word” for their “comany,” what you’re really telling them is you don’t take the time to proof your correspondence.
Often considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, English is full of tricky words and rules. This includes the dreaded homophones, or words that sound like other words — but have entirely different spellings (and meanings).
For instance, the terms “your” and “you’re” are pronounced the same, but you should use “your” to describe something that belongs to another, such as “your company.” The contraction “you’re,” on the other hand, is a shortened form of “you are” and should be used as such, as in, “whenever you’re available to meet” or “you’re welcome.”
While good grammar checkers can often catch homophone misuse, the best way to avoid waxing poetic about your “miner” in computer programming or your impressive “sails” numbers is to proof your résumé carefully, word by word.
Lack of Proper Punctuation
These days, the average article offering résumé advice not only advises you to use sentence fragments — but outright recommends it. The reason? Quality fragments, often arranged as bullet points, both encourage brevity and eliminate wasted space — a must when your résumé will merit an average of six seconds of eyeball time.
That said, don’t think you can skip out on punctuation altogether. Although sentence fragments shouldn’t have ending punctuation, any complete sentences on your résumé should.
In addition, correct punctuation extends far beyond the period. Lists of anything — such as skills, accomplishments, or responsibilities — should be properly separated with commas, as well as any numbers (“$100000 in sales” should be “$100,000 in sales”). Also, don’t forget to include the appropriate apostrophes for any contractions.
Incorrect Plurals & Possessives
Another surefire way to get your résumé a one-way trip to the “no” pile is the incorrect use of plurals and possessives. For example, whoever reviews your résumé will likely be confused when they see how much you “love the companies mission” — they may wonder how many companies you are referencing.
In some situations, such as with the word “company,” the plural of the word is spelled differently than the singular noun. For these words, you may need to look up the correct plural spelling to avoid errors.
In other cases, confusing plurals and possessives is a matter of punctuation. This is because a variety of plural nouns end in an “s.” In the phrase “the office’s kitchen,” there is a single office and a single kitchen. If the apostrophe is moved, giving “the offices’ kitchen,” we are referencing a single kitchen shared by multiple offices.
Proof, Proof & Proof Again
While the average job hunt starts with the gargantuan task of narrowing down millions of jobs for the right fit, it’s hardly the only part of the process requiring an applicant to defy the statistics. With only 12% of résumés earning their owners an interview, the odds are not in your favor.
One of the easiest ways to help ensure your résumé doesn’t get benched before the game even starts is to proof it for spelling and grammar mistakes. Not only should you send it through a comprehensive spelling and grammar checker, but also go through it by hand — and then go over it again. Don’t let small mistakes stand between you and the perfect job.
Brittney is a Contributing Editor for Digital Brands, Inc., where she uses her extensive research background to develop comprehensive guides and in-depth company profiles for BadCredit.org and CardRates.com. Brittney specializes in translating complex ideas into readable, engaging content for B2C and B2B audiences.