When it comes to résumé writing, a surprisingly large number of people agonise about the little things like what size margins to keep or whether to underline a particular term. Things like this are often not too important because when a recruiter is scanning your résumé, they probably won’t imagine how it would have looked with a broader margin, but what they most certainly will notice, and in fact read through, is the content of your résumé.
Silly mistakes in spelling or grammar show a certain sloppiness that few recruiters want to be responsible for bringing into the workplace. This is why good, succinct writing and impeccable grammar and spelling are some of the basic or essential elements in a good, solid résumé.
What is the point of a résumé? The point is a CV or résumé is to condense all your qualities, skills, and experience into a short summary that can be communicated through two pages. How to present yourself in terms of words and language can make all the difference in how you present yourself as a good candidate for the job. So writing good, crisp language; using appropriate words; and lastly, making no silly mistakes are essential factors in creating an effective résumé.
Relevant skills and knowledge are of course the most important factors in getting a job, but your résumé is the first chance to make the right impression on the HR manager or recruiter. It is important to make sure that it is free of silly mistakes and errors. Attention to proper language not only shows your skills in writing or grammar, but often more importantly it shows that you pay attention to detail and may well be a perfectionist.
Imagine that you are a recruiter and are going through a pile of résumés; you come across a reasonably well qualified and skilled candidate, but while reading through the personal qualities section you notice is says ‘prefectionist’! What could you possibly infer from this? That the candidate is in fact a perfectionist at all times except in matters relating to their own résumé? You probably would not infer that.
A recruiter or hiring manager would probably infer that someone who makes simple errors in the very document that is meant to help get them hired might just not be up to the job! Grammar and writing skills may not have anything to do with intelligence or capability, but this is the natural conclusion that one would reach, especially when there may be hundreds of other résumés without said mistakes!
A résumé riddled with errors and mistakes also gives the impression that whoever wrote it did not give it their full attention. From this, the recruiter can only draw one main conclusion, and that is that the applicant could not get him- or herself to focus on the résumé and therefore must not really be interested in the job.
A clear, concise résumé that highlights your personal strengths, training, skills, and experience is vital to getting hired. While this has always been true, it has never been more essential than it is at the present time. Current economic times are characterised by high unemployment and tough competition for every job out there. Today having a good résumé that can stand you in good stead is more important than it has ever been.
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com and the author of this article. Richard spent 17 years in the Fire Service and now provides insider recruitment training for those looking to join the fire service, police service, and also the armed forces. You can also connect with How2become on Twitter