Test Your Resume Grammar and Punctuation I.Q.
A Writing Skills Quiz By Joelle Silva, Corporate Warriors
How do you stack up in presenting yourself to prospective employers in writing? We examine resumes on a daily basis, and 90 percent of them have typos or grammatical errors. Here are some examples:
"I am an extremely fast leaner."
"As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments."
"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."
While the errors above seem humorous, you would be surprised at how frequently these types of mistakes appear in resumes. Since the errors involve usage rather than spelling, "spell-check" won't catch these blunders.
If you're like most of us, time in English class was more likely spent daydreaming than wrangling with the intricacies of our native language. How many of us thought it would really matter in our later lives whether a period or comma should be placed inside or outside quotation marks? Or when it was appropriate to use an apostrophe to show possession? How about when to use "there," "their," or "they're"?
Despite our lack of interest in grammar skills during our school years, written presentation is crucial in marketing to a prospective employer. Your resume represents YOU, and it is the key to whether an employer will put you on his or her "short list." Just as it is when you meet someone in person, initial impressions are made from your resume and can be difficult to reverse. You want to make sure your resume presents you in the best way possible.
You always want to proofread your resume several times-ideally, at several different times when your mind and eyes are fresh. If your word processing program has spelling and grammar checkers, by all means use them-but, as noted above, recognize they are only tools and cannot catch all errors or will sometimes "catch" things that are not errors. Use a good reference manual as your ultimate guide. Do your best to ensure your resume presents you well; you will be glad you did.
Reference for this quiz was The Gregg Reference Manual, Eighth Edition, by William A. Sabin, published by McGraw-Hill, New York, 1996. This is generally considered to be "the" reference manual for grammar, usage and punctuation and you can find the answer to virtually every question you might ever have with regard to the written word. I would highly recommend its purchase as one of your main reference books, along with an up-to-date dictionary and thesaurus. Most importantly, use these books; don't let them collect dust on your bookshelf.