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Surefire Ways to Avoid Grammar Errors in Your Résumé or Cover Letter

Source: Becomingness
Source: Becomingness

Time and again, we see résumés fly into recruiting departments and out to the trash minutes later; not because candidates who sent in those résumés are unqualified but because their applications are filled with grammar gaffes.

Recruiters can hardly accept this because  submitting an error filled application is like serving a tasty meal with lots of sand particles in it. No matter how qualified you are, those grammar gaffes will get in the way; perhaps give another job seeker with a good presentation a chance to get the job.

Your résumé takes at most 2 pages to write, with so many obvious errors in it, employers get the impression  you have no idea what you are up against.

Avoiding grammar slip-ups is not something worthy of note for job seekers only but for anyone who wants to convey meaning in any formal writing – emails, business writing, proposals etc.

Research also has it that people who quickly rise up the corporate ladder possess excellent communication skills – both in speech and in writing; it is no doubt a must-have for a much more stress free ride to the top.

We can throw up our hands and say the times have changed because our constant use of abbreviations and slangs in informal chats, text and emails has blurred the line between professional and casual writing. This is true, the times have changed but the importance of proper communication hasn’t dwindled one bit.

Your résumé or any formal writing requires a balance in tone and presentation to give that impression you are trying to portray, because for the most part, you’ll be writing to total strangers –  people who have no idea you were the best graduating student of your set at Harvard or you received a scholarship to study English in Space. Employers are not programmers; if your résumé looks like a puzzle, they won’t try  to fix it.

Some  of the common errors seen in résumés and cover letters are;

Using the word “am” instead of “I am” or “I’m”.
I don’t know how this started but soon I began seeing it everywhere, first as normal chat messages and then in formal writings.
“Am”  is a 1st person present singular of the verb “be”. It is used to link the subject of a sentence to give more information about the subject e.g I am tired, I am sick.
“I’m” is the contraction of “I am” e.g “I am in love with Jerry” is the same as  “I’m in love with Jerry”.


Using “its” instead of “it is” or “it’s”.
“Its” is a possessive pronoun e.g The dog wagged its tail.
“It’s” is a contraction of “It is” or “it has” e.g  “it’s been a while since I last saw a movie”, “it’s high time we left”.
Same goes for “Your” and “You’re”.

“Their” and “There”
“Their”  is a possessive plural noun e.g Their cat
“There”  can be used as a pronoun to describe a thing or a place e.g There are many houses on this street, we’ll buy lunch when we get there.

Avoid word misspellings like oportunity, privlege, atenttion and the like because they affect the flow of reading.
And for your sake, write in simple English.  Simple words in English are still very effective and perhaps convey more meaning than complex words; it’s okay to try to impress your reader but writing “the use of…” still tells a better story than “the utilisation of…” , make it easy for your reader to enjoy your message.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell