Job Search Tip of the Week #24 (2017)


Top 5 Most Common Typographical & Grammatical Errors

Details Can Make the Difference on Your Résumé & Cover Letter

Check for typos!

You could be everything a hiring manager is looking for, but if you neglect to review and revise your application materials before you submit them, you may be giving your potential employer a reason to take you out of their candidate pool.

Hiring managers base their initial impression of who you are and would be as an employee on your résumé and cover letter. Documents and other correspondence laden with typographical and grammatical errors suggest that you lack attention to detail and professionalism, which consequently increases the likelihood that you won’t be considered a viable candidate for the position. The following is a list of the five most common, non-content mistakes that we’ve come across on technical résumés and cover letters:

  1. Principle Principal Software Engineer

      It’s easy to confuse homophones (words that are pronounced the same as another but differ in meaning) such as “principal” and “principle” together. And unfortunately, the spell check feature isn’t a catch-all; on some word processing programs, it doesn’t check for intent.

      While as “principle” can only ever be a noun (referring to a rule, law, or standard), “principal” can be used as an adjective (meaning main, senior, or highest in rank or importance) or a noun (referring to the person of the highest importance or authority within an organization, like a school).

      A sentence to remember the difference between these words: As the principal of the software development team (i.e., the principal software engineer), I teach the principles of ethical software development.

  2. Programmar Programmer

      Yes, “grammar” ends with “ar.” However, “programmer” does not.

  3. Position Titles and Capitalization

      Capitalize a title when it’s part of a salutation (e.g., “Dear Hiring Manager), a signature (e.g., Sincerely, [Your Name Here], Software Engineer for Company X), or an identity (e.g., As Senior Software Engineer for Company X, I…).

      Generally, the job title is not capitalized when the word “the” precedes it (e.g., During the networking event, I had spoken with Jared Franklin, the president and founder of Chase Technology Consultants, about available IT job opportunities). However, although not grammatically correct, it may also be capitalized to emphasize the position you applied for (e.g., I am interested in the Junior Software Engineer position I saw advertised on your company website.”).

  4. Verb Tenses

      The duties of your current position should be in present tense, while as ones performed at past jobs should in the past. For example:

      Senior Software Engineer May 2012 – Present
      Company A
    • Lead a team of 5 in the full-cycle development of a web-based data collection and analysis application using C#, ASP.NET, HTML5, CSS3, MVC, AWS, Visual Studio, and SQL 08

      Mid-level Application Engineer September 2009 – May 2012
      Company B
    • Collaborated with Principal Software Engineer and the rest of the software development team to design and develop a web-based market research application using C#, ASP.NET, HTML, CSS, and SQL 08

  5. “i.e.” vs. “e.g.”

      Both Latin abbreviations “i.e.” and “e.g.” are used to clarify a preceding phrase or sentence. However, the former means “in other words” or “in essence,” while the latter means “for example.” The following sentence illustrates the general rule of thumb of how these terms should be used:

      I’m Team Lead (i.e., Principal Software Engineer) at Company X, and currently use some of 2017’s hottest open source technologies (e.g., Ruby on Rails, Python).

      Note: Further confusion can arise in some cases, since “i.e.” and “e.g.” can both be used to introduce examples. However, you use “i.e.” to introduce a finite or complete list (such as what you do in the technical purview section of your résumé where you list all the frameworks and technologies you know and use), and “e.g.” to provide only a few examples.

      A comma must immediately follow both “i.e.” and “e.g.”

Remember: Read your résumé over very carefully, and not just for content accuracy. Avoiding typographical and grammatical errors will improve your eligibility as a candidate and allow the employer to better focus on your qualifications!

Sound Off: What blunders have you come across (or made) on a résumé?

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