Sure, your future employer looks to see that you meet the job’s requirements.
She skims your career highlights, checks for a degree, and glosses over position titles. While she’s looking for details that make you stand out, she’s also looking to shorten the queue of similar documents on her desktop.
And that means finding good reasons to nix half of the fifty “leaders with a proven track record of exceeding company goals.” This is where typos come into play. If that hiring manager spots a typo within the six seconds of review time she gives, you’re kaput.
Luckily, I’ve helped catch and correct some pretty gnarly typos made on resumes. I’ve also noticed that these don’t always pop up in the meatiest sections, which is both good and bad.
Here are five places to look to find hidden slip-ups on your resume, even after you’ve proofread it.
Look to the Concrete Details
Think back to the first time you drafted an electronic resume. What was the first thing you typed on the page? Your name and contact information. These details are easy; they don’t change often and they don’t need thoughtful construction.
As a result, you pound the words out and move on to the real stuff. Not so fast. As you know by now, it’s imperative to place the juiciest information about yourself above the fold. If along with your areas of expertise and executive summary, your resume states you live in a misspelled state, you’re going to look a little careless. So, make sure to add your header details to the “proofread” list before you hit submit.
Pay extra attention to: Your email address. A typo here may not be as noticeable to an outsider, but it could prevent you from receiving updates on your evaluation.
Reread Your Leading Verbs
When it comes to sorting through resumes, skimming is the name of the game.
The first three to four bullets under each position get the most time in the spotlight, with the first few words of those bullets leading the charge. It’s best to start with a verb that captures your main accomplishment. This is also where you need to check for missing vowels. After typing “manage” over and over, it’s natural to drop that final ‘a’. Microsoft Word won’t pick up on this because “mange” is still a word—but hopefully not one that has anything to do with your career. This is by far the most common verb typo I see, along with “led” versus “lead” and the noun “contract” being turned to “contact.”
Pay extra attention to: The bullet points you select for a highlight section. If anything gets read in its entirety, it will be these.
Also read: Power Verbs + Power Nouns = Powerful Resume
Review Degrees and Short Lists Slowly
No one can take your education away from you, which means it often rusts away at the bottom of your resume without much proofreading.
However, Business Insider heat maps reveal that this section—which often includes essential qualifications—gets a few of those coveted seconds during the review process. Make sure you’ve spelled university names right, especially if the school’s title isn’t state related. While you’re at it, double check that you’ve spelled “bachelor” correctly. Then move on to any tech skills or software proficiencies listed nearby. If you truly know the program, you should know how it’s styled.
For example, I recently corrected “premier pro” to “Premiere Pro.” Not only would this flag a manager who knows Premiere like the back of his hand, but it also wouldn’t get picked up by an applicant tracking system as a relevant keyword.
Pay extra attention to: Words that end in –ence or –ance.
Double Check Your Links
Now that 93% of hiring managers click through your social media profiles, it has never been more important to type your Twitter handle correctly.
A good strategy is to include these links within your basic contact information so the manager doesn’t have to manually type your name into a search bar.
But if you drop the ball here and send him to a broken link, he may not think you’re worth the effort to continue searching for.
Pay extra attention to: Portfolio links or external examples of your work or media coverage.
Edit Your Content in Sections
When it comes time to edit the bulk of your experience section, there are many tips to help you proofread.
If you’ve read it out loud and passed it along to a friend, but still want to triple check, print it out and cut it up. Draw a line between each category or position. Then slice the page into a few horizontal excerpts, which you can then edit out of context and out of order. A statistic on this may not exist, but you’re probably a hundred times more likely to spot a rogue word or punctuation mark when it isn’t surrounded by text or squeezed onto your laptop screen.
True story, I once had a client write that she “traveled to Hong Honk to shadow the company’s CEO.” Luckily, this was the first bullet point under the position, which made it stand out without thirty lines of text above it.
Pay extra attention to: Words that come in pairs, such as city names or compound nouns.
After you’ve built a successful career and proven your worth in the office, sabotaging your chances of landing a dream job with a tiny typo is a frustrating situation. Use these techniques to catch the culprits before they knock you out of the running.