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The four most commonly misspelled resume words

Elizabeth Bromstein|

Hiring managers pay attention to grammar, spelling, and typos, and so do we here at Workopolis, because they matter.

I’ve said before that while I am not a stickler in everyday life, the gatekeepers to jobs are, and bad grammar, spelling, and typos have frequently been listed as the top reason your application will get tossed in the garbage.

Here’s the thing, though: knowing this is only half the battle. You can comb over a resume a hundred times, searching for errors, but many of us don’t know all the rules. And you can’t catch them if you don’t know them. My boss and I toss grammar questions around all the time, because we don’t automatically know the answers, and we’re professional writers.

That’s where sites like Grammarly.com, an automated proofreader, come in.

According to Allison VanNest, Grammarly’s Communications Manager, “Using an automated proofreader, such as Grammarly.com, to check the grammar in your resume and cover letter can be an effective tool in your job search. This type of tool provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of your English writing.” On the other hand, hiring a human editor is expensive and you may have to wait days or weeks to receive edits.

“Job seekers who prefer to check their own writing run the risk of seeing what they meant to write, and not uncovering the little mistakes that hiring managers may use against them.”

VanNest explains that tools like Grammarly check for commonly confused word pairs such as ensure/insure, affect/effect, and they’re/there/their “which indicate sloppy proofreading.”

She adds that “They also uncover outright misspellings,” and lists the four “usual suspects” for resume spelling errors. The most frequently misspelled words in resumes are:

    • Definitely (often misspelled as “definately”)
    • Separate (often misspelled as “seperate”)
    • Paid (often misspelled as “payed”)
    • Laid off (often misspelled as “layed off”)

“Other grammatical gaffes on resumes or cover letters,” she says, “include misusing commas in dates and places, incorrectly capitalizing the names of companies or common nouns, and using the wrong verb tenses.”

She also says that, “While not an actual mistake, a hallmark of mediocre writing is unvaried sentence structure. Many writers fall back on simple sentences, and though straightforward writing is best, that isn’t the same thing as being repetitious.”

So, writing “Was responsible for…” ten times in a row is bad.


Category: Resumes and Cover Letters