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The Job Blog

Careless is as Careless Does…How Carefully Have You Proofread Your Résumé?

Is that little red line appearing under “curriculum vitae” on your CV?

Are you of the belief that an apostrophe is one of the 12 Disciples of Christ?

Do you think a semicolon is just a regular colon with an identity crisis?

Ahhhh! Now we need to talk…

As a recruiter, I review thousands of résumés every year. As such, there must be a fundamental foundation to the screening process. And, I will tell you mine; I have a “zero tolerance” approach to grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors on CVs.

Let me explain why…

I cannot emphasize the importance of grammar enough. Yes, language is constantly changing and evolving. This we know. However, should that make grammar simultaneously less important? Good grammar is credibility, especially on the Internet and e-documents. In blogs, on LinkedIn, in e-mails and on your résumé, your words are all you have. They are what represent you in your physical absence. And, you can like it or you can lump it, but people judge people who can’t tell the difference between “to”, “too”, and “two”.

Perhaps, my no tolerance approach seems a little unjust? After all, correct use of grammar and punctuation has nothing to do with ability, or work ethic, or job performance, right?


Grammar doesn’t merely illustrate a person’s ability to recall rules and regulations of the English language that were drilled into them at school. I proffer, that candidates who make fewer mistakes on job applications and résumés also make fewer mistakes when they are executing tasks and activities which are totally unrelated.

Similarly, candidates who do pay heed to how they construct written language, to syntax, to spelling, to accurate punctuation, also tend to pay a lot more attention to how they perform in other areas of their profession.

As the old saying goes; the devil is in the detail. And, I select and favor candidates who pay heed and care about details. Applicants who don’t believe grammatical prudence is important are likely to think a great many other (important) things also aren’t important.

I’m not trying to purposely stand in the way of you and your dream job. My stringent approach is founded on the following; without a shadow of a doubt (just like me), hiring managers pay attention to careless mistakes on résumés.

After all, careless is as careless does.