Woman stared at laptop screen looking confused

The four most commonly misspelled resume words

Elizabeth Bromstein|

Hiring managers talk a lot about grammar, spelling, and typos, and so do we, mainly because hiring managers do.

I’ve said before that I am not a stickler in everyday life, but must reiterate that the gatekeepers to jobs are sticklers, and bad grammar, spelling, and typos have been listed as the top reason your application will get tossed in the garbage.

Here’s the thing, though: knowing this is only half the battle. You can comb over a resume a hundred times, searching for errors, but many of us don’t know all the rules. And you can’t catch them if you don’t know them. My boss and I toss grammar questions around all the time, because we don’t automatically know the answers, and we’re professional writers.

That’s where sites like Grammarly.com, an automated proofreader, come in.

According to Allison VanNest, Grammarly’s Communications Manager, “Using an automated proofreader, such as Grammarly.com, to check the grammar in your resume and cover letter can be an effective tool in your job search. This type of tool provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of your English writing. On the other hand, hiring a human editor is expensive and you may have to wait days or weeks to receive edits.

“Job seekers who prefer to check their own writing run the risk of seeing what they meant to write, and not uncovering the little mistakes that hiring managers may use against them.”

VanNest explains that tools like Grammarly check for commonly confused word pairs such as ensure/insure, affect/effect, and they’re/there/their “which indicate sloppy proofreading.”

She adds that “They also uncover outright misspellings,” and lists the four “usual suspects” for resume spelling errors. These are:

    • Definitely (often misspelled as “definately”)
    • Separate (often misspelled as “seperate”)
    • Paid (often misspelled as “payed”)
    • Laid off (often misspelled as “layed off”)

“Other grammatical gaffes on resumes or cover letters,” she says, “include misusing commas in dates and places, incorrectly capitalizing the names of companies or common nouns, and using the wrong verb tenses.”

She also says that, “While not an actual mistake, a hallmark of mediocre writing is unvaried sentence structure. Many writers fall back on simple sentences, and though straightforward writing is best, that isn’t the same thing as being repetitious.”

So, writing “Was responsible for…” ten times in a row is bad.

Actually, it’s also bad to say you were “responsible for” in a resume. But that’s another story, which you can read here.
 


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Category: Job Search Strategies, Resumes and Cover Letters,
 
  • Kate Shaw

    Better than a mechanical grammar “app” — ask your Mom, your Auntie, or anyone more than 25 years older than you are “Would you please just look this over? I want to be certain it’s all correct.” My Mama never graduated from high school, but she could spot spelling and grammar errors with a single glance, because Grandmama had taken the trouble to train her. (This was fortunate because although Daddy could add and subtract more quickly than a calculator, he could not spell CAT if you spotted him the C.)