The Arnold Group (TAG) - Job Seeker Blog
The Arnold Group (TAG) - Job Seeker Blog
Does Grammar on Your Resume Really Matter?
Article Categories: Resumes
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Does Grammar on Your Resume Really Matter | TAG Talk - A Human Resource Blog

Does Grammar on Your Resume Really Matter?

Does the grammar you use on your resume really matter? After all, hiring managers are likely going to spend less than twenty seconds looking at it.

The short answer is: yes!

Of the many reasons a recruiter or hiring manager will condemn a resume to the NO pile, grammar, word choice, and spelling are all at the top of the list. Whether you're an experienced author or writing your first resume, it's easy to get tripped up by grammar mistakes. Here are some of the most common errors made on a resume that you need to watch out for:

File Name
The name of your resume file matters. It's the very first thing a recruiter or hiring manager sees when you send out your resume, so make sure the file name includes your name and the word "resume." Always double check if there is a specified file format, such as .pdf or .doc and save accordingly. Missing this step shows you cannot read instructions or follow directions.

Inconsistent Tense
When referring to your current job position, use present tense - you are still working in that position. When referring to a previous positions you are no longer in, use past tense. Be sure to stick with the correct tense throughout your entire resume; switching tenses randomly looks unprofessional and signals that you didn't proofread very carefully.

Possessives and Contractions
A common mistake many make is confusing words of possession with contractions of two other words. Confusing these two different kinds of words gives the impression you might not be qualified for the position. For example: "your" is possessive, it signifies ownership. The word "you're" is a contraction of the words "you" and "are" and implies action.

Homophones
Homophones are two words that have different spellings and meanings, but sound the same. These words will be overlooked by spellcheck, because spelling isn't the problem. The problem is misusing the word, which will only be caught by an informed proofreader. Misusing words such as "two," "too," and "to" tells a recruiter or hiring manager you lack attention to detail.

Pronouns
Save space and skip using first-person pronouns such as "I." Your name should already be at the top of your resume, which tells the recruiter it's about you. Avoid third-person pronouns such as "he/she" when referring to yourself as well. Instead, start sentences or bullet points with an action verb.

Abbreviations
Abbreviations are not universal, even when they're career specific. They're also informal, which is not something you want to portray in a formal resume. The exception to this is the use of industry jargon. Using industry jargon appropriately adds to your credibility and demonstrates your industry-specific knowledge.

Complex Sentences
Recruiters and hiring managers are not going to take the time to decipher a long, complicated complex sentence. Instead, divide the points into separate sentences of their own and eliminate extra unnecessary details.

Does Grammar on Your Resume Really Matter?

A good rule of thumb is to remember a recruiter or hiring manager will generally do a preliminary scan of your resume within eight to fifteen seconds of looking at it before deciding whether it goes in the YES, NO, or MAYBE pile. Simple mistakes such as grammar, word choice, or spelling errors will jump right off a page and ensure your resume goes straight into the NO pile; those mistakes not only show a lack of attention to detail, but also that you don't take enough pride in your work to proofread for mistakes. Don't miss out on a chance at landing your next job position due to an easily avoidable mistake.


The Arnold Group offers free resources to job seekers to assist with writing an effective resume and a targeted cover letter, as well as interviewing do's and don'ts in an effort to give those on the job hunt the best chance possible at landing the job position they're after. We encourage you to review them before submitting a resume or job application to a recruiter or potential employer.

Article Categories: Resumes