What You Don't Want on Your Resume
By Surajit Sen Sharma
While it might seem tempting to create a difference through a resume, you must always be careful never to veer away too much from the normal pattern. When writing a resume, it is always helpful to use clear and concise terms that do not create ambiguity. It is also necessary to avoid metaphors and idioms since the person reading your resume may not be familiar with the same colloquial expressions that you are used to.
Also, when using perfectly normal and proper verb tenses, try to convert everything to simple tenses as much as possible. Trying to use ''Future Perfect Continuous'' can enrage the resume reader who always feels in a psychologically superior position, and is convinced that he or she is the unrecognized doyen of English grammar. Usually the weaker somebody is in any subject; the greater is the confidence of having mastered it. The basic rule of resumes is ''simple works, complex doesn't.''
With that in mind, let's find out some of the most common mistakes that slip through our pens into a resume:
- Wrong capitalization: Though it may not seem very important, it does have its impact, so check your capitals thoroughly before sending off your resume.
- Wrong subject-verb agreement: Extremely common mistake, and though not taken as seriously as capitalization, absence of subject-verb agreement mistakes makes a resume look truly professional. In a manner, a resume clean of subject-verb agreement mistakes also tells your potential employer that you are detail-oriented.
- Clumsy constructions: These mistakes usually happen when you write as you think. Thoughts are more in accord with speech than with writing. Expressions that are perfectly normal while speaking, can be non-standard while writing, and can create confusion.
- Punctuation errors: While writing, punctuations are extremely important. Most people don't care too much about punctuations, but the truth is, punctuations are as much important as your words. Consider these two expressions: ''Let's eat, Jack'' and ''Let's eat Jack.'' Simply missing out a comma can create a great difference in meaning.
- Overusing superlative adjectives: However good you might be, it is not prudent to stress that on a resume by using adjectives like ''best,'' or ''top,'' about yourself. You are going for a job and expected to have a learner's attitude. More often than not, you'll find people who are ''better'' than you in your new workplace, and in areas where you took yourself to be the ''best.''
- Uncommon Acronyms: It is better to avoid all uncommon acronyms though they might be part of your regular jargon. Wherever it is possible to spell out the full expression, do so, and avoid acronyms. VP means Vice President to the common person, but can mean Volumetric Pixels to a digital artist. Usually, acronyms are supported by the context in the sentence or paragraph and are expected to be understood. But, uncommon acronyms should always be avoided.
- Repeating words and expressions: Repeating the same words and expressions is a common fault. It is usually glossed over if the frequency is low, but it projects an impression that the candidate lacks vocabulary.
- Long sentences: Long sentences are more difficult to understand and create greater chances of making grammatical mistakes. The best rule is to keep your sentences short and simple.
- Heavyweight English: It is a common mistake to believe that using more academic terms and uncommon synonyms will make you appear more learned. If you can get the meaning across by using everyday terms and without ambiguity, then that is the best way to write. The purpose of using language is to communicate effectively. Expressions and terms that make communication difficult in a particular context are self-defeating in that context. It is better to find simpler alternatives.