Getting Your Resume Right

So you’ve just pressed send on your job application and the rest is now in the hands of the ‘recruitment gods’, right? Sure. But whether you’ve done everything you can to make it past the initial screening stage, well, that’s a different story…

While your experience is obviously the big ticket item on your CV, it’s not just what you say that counts: how you say it can also affect your chances of success.

For example, if your spelling is sloppy then the recruiter (or potential employer) will likely question your attention to detail – especially if you’ve listed this as one of your strengths. And if you’re going for a role that relies on accuracy (like a front-end developer) or compelling copy (like a community manager), then typos may set alarm bells ringing

To present yourself in the best possible light, here are five tips to help you polish and proofread your CV.

1. Be prepared:

Rather than doing a late-night session as an application deadline looms, constantly maintain your CV. That way, it’s always ready when you want to apply for a job. If you rush it, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Plus, if you haven’t updated your resume since 2005, are you really going to remember all of your responsibilities and achievements?

2. Write in plain English:

With space at a premium on a CV, get rid of florally words and ‘fluff’. Keep it simple instead. Choose easy words over complex. Say ‘use’ instead of ‘utilise’, ‘start’ instead of ‘commence’, ‘need’ instead of ‘require’. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes. And here’s a bonus tip: if ‘in order to…’ is on your résumé, delete the ‘in order’ bit. It doesn’t mean anything – it just takes up valuable real estate.

3. Allocate review time:

Give yourself quality time to review your application before you submit it. Typos seem to jump right off the page when you give your mind a break. Ideally, put your CV away for a few days and then review it with fresh eyes.

4. Phone a friend:

If you know spelling, grammar and punctuation aren’t your forté, ask someone who is good at those things to help you out. Print a copy of your CV and arm them with a big red pen to make their mark. Why print it? While not as good for the environment, many people find it easier to edit a hard copy – plus you don’t want them to accidentally mash keys and add errors.

5. Read it backwards:

Yep, you read that correctly. Start at the end of your document and read each word until you reach the start. Why? Rather than skipping over mistakes (because your mind is anticipating what it’s going to read), you’re more likely to notice typos when looking at each word individually. Go on, give it a try.