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14 Tips for Proofreading Your Resume

By Meaghan Marshall, Feb 5 2014 09:00PM

One of the most important steps to a successful resume is effectively proofreading your final document. So often resumes are submitted with careless mistakes that could have been avoided with a decent proofread.

It isn’t enough to give your resume a spell check and quick once over. Here we provide 14 tips and techniques to help you successfully proofread your resume.

1. Give proofreading your complete attention

This means removing any distractions so you can focus on the document you are reading. Turn off the TV, take yourself to a quiet room, turn off your phone and don’t multitask.

2. Delay proofreading

If you can, leave sometime between writing your resume and proofreading.

3. Print it

You will be surprised the difference reading your resume on paper versus the screen makes. You will pick up on errors previously missed and also be able to check for formatting errors that aren’t obvious on the screen.

4. Read it out loud

Our ears often catch mistakes that our eyes miss. This technique also helps you spot awkward sentences and rough transitions.

5. Be on the lookout for homonyms

Homonyms are words that share the same spelling or pronunciation, but have different meanings. For example complement/compliment, their/there/they’re, discreet/discrete

6. Check your contractions and apostrophes

People often make mistakes with contractions and apostrophes for example, their and they’re, its and it’s, your and you’re. Remember also that the apostrophe is never used to form plurals.

7. Check punctuation

Pay attention to capitalized words, missing or extra commas and full stops used incorrectly.

Pay particular attention to your bulleted lists. Your punctuation needs to be consistent for each item in the list. When each item is one or more complete sentences, use a full stop. Leave full stops off bulleted lists if contains single words or simple phrases.

8. Read it backwards

You will have spent considerable time on your resume which will result in your becoming blind to your own mistakes. This occurs because the brain automatically corrects wrong words inside sentences. Read the text backwards, word by word to pick up on any errors you have become blind to. Reading backwards will also slow your reading, a good technique for those who read too quickly for effective proofreading.

9. Don’t forget to check formatting, including headings, fonts and spacing

Don’t only focus on the text. After proofreading the body, check your headings for spelling and formatting errors. Ensure you have consistent formatting across the document.

10. Look to the left

Cover half of your printed resume in order to examine the left side of your page. Make sure you started each point with strong action words.

11. Double check your numbers

Accuracy in your resume is imperative. You don’t want to overstate or understate your achievements. Including that the value of a performance improvement was $5,000 instead of $50,000 is a big oversight.

12. Check for consistency

Review your resume for consistency, this means using numbers or symbols consistently, dates are always in the same format and headings and spacing between sections is consistent.

13. Repeat the process

There is no such thing as too much proofreading when it comes to your resume. Proofread multiple times with a break in between.

14. Have someone else proofread

Always get at least one other person to read you resume before submitting. Even the best proofread is not infallible. Someone independent will pick up any mistakes you have become blind to and be able to let you know if you have effectively communicated your skills and sentences make sense.

Related Content:

3 Checks of your Resume Using the Ctrl-F Function

How to Tell If Your Resume Is Revealing Your Age

Resume Writing: Smarten up with Synonyms

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