I have a superpower that’s also a curse – I see typos everywhere. A dinner out isn’t complete until I find something wrong in the menu (insight: restaurateurs are not the greatest spellers. And I may not be the greatest dining companion).
You may see a beautiful person with a beautiful smile – – all I notice is that little bit of spinach in her teeth.
You may not be like me – but someone reading your resume might be. And much like spinach in one’s teeth, a CV that is 99.9% perfect can get discounted if an error is spotted by an OCD HR person or hiring manager (‘if they make a mistake on their most important document, what’s their attention to detail’?). Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all it takes.
My suspicion was that there are a lot of errors out there – – so I decided to check it out.
I speed-proofed a sample of resumes from a large networking group to see if there were errors that could get someone’s resume discarded by a picky hiring manager or HR person. These resumes are from very accomplished senior executives.
And there were indeed errors. In fact, all resumes had errors that needed fixing – – and some of these were ‘final’, meaning a resume expert had helped them out and blessed the final product. It’s natural – after checking your resume 5000 times, you’re sick of it and it becomes impossible to spot things.
Here are the 6 most frequent errors I found:
1) misspelling names of companies and brands (including in some cases the companies and brands that the person worked for!)
2) sloppy formatting – dates don’t align on the right, formatting makes it tough to trace the career history, periods on some bullet points but not others, inconsistent capitalization, etc.
3) use of proprietary acronyms and abbreviations that no reader is going to understand
4) inconsistent use of MM, M and millions (same for thousands and billions) – used one way in one place, another way elsewhere
5) sloppy grammar – mixing past and present tense, missing connecting words, using ‘lead’ instead of ‘led’, etc.
6) missing elements – not using the official name of a company, not consistently showing city/state for a job, etc.
Trivial stuff, for sure, but it’s the real world. You may well be the next Steve Jobs – – don’t unnecessarily give anyone a reason to think about anything other than your accomplishments.
NET – – for those in search mode, the resume you think is squeaky clean may have errors that someone may fixate on.
So — reach out to your annoying attention-to-detail friend (we all have one) and make double-sure you’re ready for prime time – remove that spinach!
If you’ve read this far and found that your resume needed a correction, please let me know in the comments.
If you find that I made an error in this post, I don’t want to hear about it.