Reviewing, Editing, and Proofreading your Resume

Last in the editing process. Review, edit, and proofread. Proof, proof, proof! Your resume is a representation of your best work. It must be error-free. Use your computer’s spelling checker and grammar checker, but don’t rely on them entirely.

Enlist the aid of a competent reader

reviewing-editing-proofreading-resumeBecause you have worked diligently on your resume, you are too close to the project to manage this all-important task on your own.

A trusted business person who writes for a living, an English teacher, an editor, a certified resume writer. Someone whose eyes don’t glaze over when you ask for assistance identifying split infinitives, comma splices, or passive voice.

Little mistakes that decide everything

One tiny comma misplaced, one letter transposed, or one word misused can honestly make the difference between getting an invitation to interview or getting a “Dear John/Jane” letter.

Top 10 Resume Proofreading Tips

Use this 10-step list for proofreading your resume:

1. Print out the resume: it’s easier to spot typos on a piece of paper than it is on a computer screen.

2. Read it slowly, one word at a time. Give special attention to these items:

  • Dates of employment
  • Phone numbers and e-mail address: pick up the phone and call the numbers you have listed. Send an e-mail to the e-mail address listed.
  • Spelling of proper nouns: Check your name, employers, cities.
  • Headings: if one category heading is boldfaced and underlined, are all boldfaced and underlined? Have you duplicated a category heading?
  • Consistency of formatting: if one employer entry is indented half an inch, are all indented half an inch?

3. Mark any changes on the proof with a pen: use ink colors like green or red to help changes stand out.

4. Read it backwards, one word at a time: this process forces you to look at each word, rather than each sentence, where your brain can “fill in” information because it knows what the sentence is supposed to mean. Starting at the bottom of the resume, take a business card or similar-sized piece of paper and cover up all but the last word. Read that word. Is it spelled correctly? Uncover the next-to-last word. Is it spelled correctly? Repeat this process for every word on the page. Mark any changes on the proof with a pen.

5. Make the changes to the document on your computer.

6. Print it again.

7. Read it again.

8. Compare the proof version with pen marks to the new proof: check off that each correction was made, and that when you made the correction, you didn’t cause another problem elsewhere on the resume.

9. Let it sit overnight: looking at it with fresh eyes can make all the difference.

10. Ask two other capable proofreaders to read it with a critical eye.