It’s done! You’ve added all your contact information, your profile summary, your expertise, your work history, your associations and your education. It’s 2 pages long, single spaced with a 10 point font. Before you send that testament to your brilliance to the hiring manager, there is just one thing left to do… YOU HAVE TO PROOFREAD YOUR RESUME.
1. First, run a quick spell check and grammar check. These tools will not catch everything, but it’s a good place to start.
2. Next, print out the resume; grab a ruler and colored pen. Find a flat surface far away from the computer. The biggest problem we all have with proofreading is we try to read, edit and correct at the same time. Instead focus on one task and only one task. Place your resume on a flat surface, place the ruler at the top of the page and begin reading each word/sentence aloud while slowly moving the ruler down the page. Move across the page with the colored pen and make notes on the page of typos, misspellings or sentences that do not sound right. Do not run over to the computer to make the edits. We are only reading right now.
3. Slow down at the end. As you get towards the end of your resume, you will be tempted to speed through the final sections. Don’t! This is where you find the most mistakes. Slow down and read it all the way through.
4. Next, start at the end and read the entire document backwards. This is a technique used by professional copywriters. It forces you to focus on just the words. This is how you will find “coat” when you meant “cost” or “accessed” when you meant “assessed”.
5. Review all grammar and punctuation use. Check the end of each sentence for periods. (For the record, there should be no question marks or exclamation marks in your resume unless it is part of a name or title of an article or book.) Look at every comma, semi-colon, colon and hyphen one by one. If you are not sure of the proper use, look it up in a style guide. If you are still unsure, rewrite the sentence.
6. Check your contact information and make sure it is noted on each page. A great resume is useless if you have a typo in your email or phone number.
7. Ask a friend or colleague to proofread it for you.
8. Put it away for the night and look at it again with fresh eyes in the morning.
One typo can send your resume to the circular file. Take these extra steps to proofread your resume today and you just might get the job tomorrow.