8 grammar mistakes that can kill your resume

8 grammar mistakes that can kill your resume

Although it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, English is also known as one of the hardest languages to learn. Those of us who were lucky enough to learn English as a toddler growing up in an English-speaking household, have never had to face the daunting task of comprehending the rules of English grammar.

However, that may be the problem we are now facing. As we spend our days reading newspapers, websites and business documents, we all find typos, spelling errors and grammar mistakes. They are so common that many times they are overlooked and left uncorrected.

Our advice – don’t take a nonchalant view on grammar. This is a big deal, especially when it comes to your resume.

As soon as a hiring manager sees a grammar mistake on your resume, their focus has shifted from the content of the resume, to the mistakes on the resume. This is not what you want the hiring manager to remember about your resume, because it will effectively remove you from the shortlist.

We see resumes day in and day out here at Resume Target, and now we’ve compiled a list of the 8 most common grammar mistakes that will kill your resume.

1.       You’re | Your

“You’re” is a contraction of the words “you” and “are”. Therefore you should only use “you’re” when you are describing an individual.

“Your” is a possessive pronoun. You should only use “your” when stating that an item is a possession of the person in question.

Resume Tip: Resume writing does not generally include pronouns such as “I” or “You” in sentences, however this type of writing is commonly used in the cover letter.

2.       Their | They’re | There

“Their” is a possessive pronoun, just like “your”. The difference here is “their” refers to multiple people and “your” refers to a singular person.

“They’re” is a contraction of the words “they” and “are”. Similar to “you’re” which is the singular version, “they’re” is used when referring to multiple people.

“There” refers to a concrete or abstract place.

Resume Tip: Memorize this – They’re throwing their ball over there.

3.       It’s | Its

“It’s” is a contraction of the words “it” and “is”, or “it” and “has”.

“Its” is a possessive pronoun, similar to “your” and “their”, but instead of referring to a person, “its” refers to an inanimate object.

Resume Tip: If you’re using “it’s” in a sentence, try reading the sentence aloud and saying “it is” instead of “it’s”… if the sentence doesn’t sound right, then you’ve got it wrong.

4.       Ensure | Insure | Assure

To ensure, is to make certain that a certain thing will or will not happen.

To insure, is to arrange for financial compensation against the loss of something or against someone getting injured or dying – think insurance.

To assure, is to remove doubt or uncertainty. Assure can often be interchanged with promise.

Resume Tip: When it comes to your resume, you are most likely supposed to be using “ensure”, unless you work in insurance and are describing the liabilities that you “insure”. It is rare that you will be “assuring” or “promising” something to the hiring manager.

5.       Effect | Affect

Effect is a noun used to describe the outcome of an action or situation.

Affect is a verb that is used when describing how an action will alter a situation.

Resume Tip: When referring to your own skills on a resume, you will most likely tell the hiring manager that your skills are “effective” rather than “affective”.

6.       Then | Than

“Then” is used in relation to time, a sequence of events, or in place of “in addition to”.

“Than” is a term used to describe comparisons between two people or items.

Resume Tip: If your sentence doesn’t incorporate a comparison of any kind, stick with using “then”.

7.       Compliment | Complement

A compliment is when someone says something positive about you.

A complement is an addition or supplement to an item or person.

Resume Tip: If you can’t give it or receive it, it’s not a compliment.

8.       Principal | Principle

”Principal” can be used as a noun to refer to the highest in rank or main participant. It can also be used as an adjective to describe the most important item of a set.

“Principle” is a noun meaning a fundamental truth, law or standard.

Resume Tip: To remember that a principal refers to someone in the highest rank, think of your school principal as your pal.

When in doubt, just Google! There is a world of information right at your fingertips. If there’s a particular grammar rule that you always get wrong, double check it.

Do you have a grammar pet peeve that we didn’t cover? Let us know! 

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