Common Grammar Rules For Resumes

The simple purpose of the resume is to get you noticed and have employers contact you for an interview. To achieve this, resumes will typically break some common grammar rules. Related: 5 Things To Fix Before Your Resume Leaves Your Desk For example, all sentences are written like headlines and without pronouns. Employers won’t be asking whose resume it is when the name is already up top, front and center. It is therefore unnecessary to include pronouns like “I” or “my” on it. Resumes need to read like quick, bite-size bits of information. Adding pronouns can make the information difficult to digest because there is unnecessary verbiage. For instance, a resume including pronouns would read something like this:


I launched the product to a new international market. My efforts resulted in the company’s sales revenue doubling within 2 years.
A more effective approach would read:
Launched product to new international market, doubling company’s sales revenue within 2 years.
See how the latter version says the same thing, but gets to the point quicker. Also notice how we did not spell out ‘two’ as digits draw the eye to your sentence. Here are some basic rules around resume writing:
  • Forget about “I.” just start with an action verb like “Delivered,” “Achieved,” “Produced,” etc.
  • Keep your sentences in the first person. “Excel in developing comprehensive financial models” is correct (first person) where “Excels… “ is not correct (third person).
  • Keep sentences short. Fragments are okay.
  • Use bullet points for achievements so they are noticed. Break down information into easily digestible bits rather than having large blocks of text.
  • Take out fluff. All you need is plain English. Do not use flowery phrases that would not come up in normal conversation.
  • Use the Harvard format for resume writing. It shows roles and responsibilities in paragraph form and achievements in bullets, so they are easy to find.
  • Show the most important achievement first, starting with the quantifiable accomplishment. For example, “Reduced costs 40% by bringing services in-house.”
Remember that employers generally scan your resume for eight seconds to do the preliminary screening that puts you in the YES, NO, or MAYBE pile, so follow the rules above for the best results!

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