No matter what industry they are in, all hiring managers say that one of the top reasons they instantly reject resumes is bad grammar, spelling, or formatting. Nobody wants to read a poorly written or designed resume. The assumption is that if you can’t bother to proofread your own resume—which has a direct impact on your financial wellbeing—you’ll be probably be just as careless on the job.
As a designer, aesthetics and presentation ought to be important to you. Good design creates a warm and trusting feeling in the user—you don’t notice the design as much as you feel comfortable, cared for, and confident that you’re in good hands. That’s the feeling you want the hiring manager to have.
When I see a sloppy resume, my first thought is—“Oh boy, let’s see what else is wrong.” I’m immediately looking for more errors to back up my bad first impression. It’s the rare resume indeed that’s strong enough to overcome such a handicap.
Before sending out your resume, run through this checklist and make sure you’re not heading for the slush pile before the hiring manager has even read a word. (You can also download a printable PDF version if you prefer actual check boxes.)
Print your resume out (don’t try to read it on screen) and proofread it no fewer than three times:
- The first time, read it out loud.
- The second time, start from the bottom and read every word in reverse order.
- Then put it away for a few days and read it again.
While you’re doing that, find a friend whose command of spelling and grammar you trust, and have them proofread it. If you find mistakes, correct them and start at the beginning. (Pro tip: Getting your resume down to one page saves a lot of proofreading.)