Resumes were basically invented to be a shortcut between you as a job seeker and your potential employer. They typically reflect what can enable you to land your next job, from your unique skill set and expertise to your career highlights and achievements. In other words, crafting a compelling resume is highly indispensable.

Aside from the resume-building websites that many people are currently using to create their resumes and the ongoing debate over how effective those websites are and why they might or might not be suitable for the job search, thousands of other people prefer to build their resumes entirely on their own.

Well, it only takes some profound research about the latest tips and trends in resume writing and voila, they know how to make the beginning of the resume catchy and grab the attention of the recruiters, what information they should mention, and they would better leave out, and eventually how long the resume should be.

Resume Editing 

That said, what is as equally important as writing a compelling resume is making sure that it is error-free. Here, we are not just referring to errors in the way of organising the information in the resume but also to mistakes in the writing itself, which, unfortunately, not many people seem to pay attention to, let alone be aware of how crucial these mistakes are.

A great resume with even the tiniest mistakes does not give a very good impression about you, makes you sound unprofessional even if everything else on the resume proves otherwise, and can potentially turn recruiters off and affect your chance of getting shortlisted. In other words, editing your resume must be taken as seriously as writing it.

Types of Mistakes to Check for When Manually Editing Your Resume

So let’s explore five areas people usually make more mistakes in so you can check for them when editing your resume and make sure that it comes out as best as possible.

1. Irrelevant information

Unfortunately, many people have a tendency to add a lot of irrelevant information, such as being exceedingly descriptive of their expertise or mentioning everything they have ever done since the early years of their careers, thinking they would sound more experienced and professional. This, in fact, happens to be one of the deadliest mistakes in resume writing so let’s see how people make it.

One resume for all jobs

It is common for many people to have one resume which they use to apply for every job. For a second, this may make a lot of sense; however, when you think about it, you will know where the problem is.

Even though many people do update their resumes before they apply for a new job, they do not seem to pay enough attention to whether or not everything mentioned in this resume is relative to the position they are seeking. Sometimes, some of their employment history might have nothing to do with the title they are applying for.

But if we go back to the definition of a resume, it is a document that gives concentrated pieces of information about someone’s expertise that makes them the best candidate for the job. By default, a resume is precise and relevant.

But that, unfortunately, is not the case with many people. Many people list their entire career history, including the jobs they did early in their career, that may have nothing to do with where they are in the professional realm nowadays. This results in a really long and daunting resume.

Why would a recruiter waste their time reading about your 2005 junior post where buying coffee for the entire team every morning was among the many other minor tasks you did for over 10 hours daily when you are currently applying for a prestigious chief marketing officer title?

This can also be extremely bad for those who have more than one profession at the same time. They may, for example, be doing two part-time jobs, freelancing in multiple fields or having a full-time job in one industry and a part-time one in a completely different industry. When they use the same resume to apply for various jobs, they are actually highly risking getting their resumes dumped altogether.

All of this could be avoided by closely editing your resume every time you are about to apply for a new job. You must ensure that all the details you included align with and are so relevant to the job. In the case of working in more than one industry, you can create multiple resumes and use each in accordance with the job you are applying for and its corresponding industry.

This way, there is no need to worry about having a lengthy resume because you are not going to have a lengthy resume.

Duties vs accomplishments

Speaking of irrelevant information; unfortunately, many people fall into the trap of writing their job duties instead of accomplishments, especially those who are still getting started with their careers and might not have made a lot of achievements already. This, too, can draw recruiters away as work duties do not provide them with any valuable information about the candidate that may suggest they are suitable for the job.

For those with many years of experience, it can be easy for them to list their accomplishments, which, again, should be relative to and aligned with the purpose they are using the resume for.

In the case of those still stepping cautiously into the professional world, there is no need to think of achievements as big things. They do not need to have saved the company millions of dollars to feel accomplished. Instead, they need to focus on the small important things. 

For instance, they may be good at solving problems and have proposed a solution before that was highly appreciated by their managers. They could be active members of the company and usually take the initiative. Maybe they are highly committed and always meet their deadlines, achieve excellent results or exceed expectations.

Thinking first of their professional traits and then investigating the situations where they may have put them into practice can pretty much make junior employees end up with a list of achievements that may be described as significant compared to their relatively short employment history.

2. Capitalisation

The second item on the list of the deadliest mistakes people make in resumes is using improper capitalisation. Such errors are so easy for recruiters to catch, which again might contribute to your dear resume, which you spent hours writing, getting dumped.

But let’s be fair here. When it comes to resume writing, it can be pretty confusing to know which words to capitalise and which should not be capitalised.

One common mistake many people make with capitalisation in resumes is that they tend to capitalise the words they think are important or to give the impression that they are important while they might, in fact, not need any capitalisation at all. Other times, people just do not know what to capitalise, so they take precautions and capitalise what they think should be capitalised anyways.

So to clear the confusion, in this section, we are going to walk you through some rules on how to use capitalisation in resumes. So let’s start with the words that should always be capitalised.

  • The first word of a sentence
  • The first word of a bullet point (bullet points must also end with a period)
  • Proper names, i.e. names of people, companies, universities (and the word university must also be capitalised, such as Harvard University), days of the week, months, countries, continents, software tools, cities, nationalities, languages, and brand names
  • Acronyms (RADAR, UNESCO, NASA), initialisms (UNHCR, ATM, UFO) abbreviations (oz, Ltd, dept., e.g.)—Acronyms and initialisms are both made from the first letters of every word. Acronyms are, however, pronounced as words while an initialism is pronounced letter by letter
  • The word ‘present’ when giving a time range 2019-Present

Those aside, there are some words that may be capitalised in some cases and not in others, so let’s cover those as well.


Degrees should be capitalised if they are listed in the Education section of your resume or when the major itself is a proper name, such as a language—for example, Bachelor of Science in Physics or Bachelor of Arts in French. Abbreviations of the degree, such as BA, MA, or PhD, also listed in the Education section, should be capitalised.

But you should not capitalise degrees if they are part of a sentence or used in context. This is more likely to be in a cover letter or a bio than in a resume. So you can say, “I earned my bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2016.” In this case, degrees should not be capitalised.

Furthermore, programs, academic disciplines, majors or courses of study should not be capitalised. You should say, “Studied environmental science.” not “Studied Environmental Science.”

Job titles

Job titles are only capitalised when they are used as headlines in the Employment History section of your resume. So it could be like “Sales Representative (2021-Present)”, which you should then follow with a list of the achievements you made in this role.

A job title should also be capitalised if it comes before the person’s name, like Marketing Executive Steward McCarthy. In this case, the job title becomes part of the name itself and must be capitalised. Yet, if it comes after the name, it should not be capitalised. So you would write “Luke Drew, director of sales.”

Do not capitalise job titles if they are referred to in a context or if they are part of a sentence, for example, “senior software developer Malcolm Peters wrote the code for the new app” or “I started my career as a general practitioner at the Public Pediatric Hospital.

Departments and industries

Departments are only capitalised if their full names are used, such as Department of Architecture. If the name is a compound modifier, the name of the department is capitalised only if it is a proper name, for instance, the chemistry department and the French department. 

If departments are used in context, they should not be capitalised. You may write, “Worked with sales to help obtain better customer feedback.”

Industries are also never capitalised in any context, e.g. He worked in web development.


Since they are proper names, companies must be capitalised, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Met, Amazon, Google, etc.

Yet, the general rule is to write the company name the same way the company itself spells it. If it has the name all in lowercase, then keep it this way. Even if the company misspells the name, has a capital letter in the middle or has all letters in uppercase, you should just copy it as is.

3. Numbers

Numbers can be written either as words or figures. The general rule is to spell out numbers under 10, so you would write one, five, eight and use figures from 10 and above, e.g. 25, 38, 87, etc.

That said, there is more to numbers than just that. So here are a few more rules to pay attention to when editing numbers in your resume:

  • Always spell out numbers when they come at the beginning of the sentence, e.g. Thirty thousand people attended the event at the stadium.
  • When numbers from 21 to 99 come at the beginning of the sentence, they should be hyphenated; for instance, Thirty-four managers were invited to the seminar.
  • Hyphenate fractions (if for any reason you had to use them in your resume), so write three-seventh.
  • Add a comma to numbers with more than three digits, e.g. 6,596.
  • Use figures with decimals and negative numbers, e.g. 2.7 and -4°C.
  • Use figures with ratios, e.g. 3:10.
  • Use figures with percentages, e.g. 3%.
  • Use figures with ages, e.g. 3 years old.
  • Use figures with measurements, such as 49 cm.
  • Use figures with time, e.g. 5:30 pm.
  • Spell out numbers when used in a common fraction, for instance, eight in fifty people.
  • Use figures with money amounts from 1 to 999,999 and words for amounts from one million and above.
  • Use figures with a series, e.g. Grade 6 or Apartment 20—capitalise the word before the number.

4. Compound modifiers

A compound modifier is two or more hyphenated words used together as a multiple-word adjective to describe a noun. Some of the most common compound modifiers used in resumes include high-volume, world-class, hands-on, long-term, self-motivated, self-taught, etc.

As we just mentioned, such words usually come before nouns and are used as adjectives, for example, self-motivated software engineer, world-class services, hands-on practices, etc.

Compound modifiers are only hyphenated when they are used before the noun. If they come after the noun, they become part of the sentence and should not be hyphenated. So you would say “high-volume production” or “produced in high volume”.

Additionally, compound modifiers are not hyphenated if they are made with the word ‘very’ or an adverb ending with ly, like, very talented employees or a highly important email.

5. Spelling

Spelling is also one of the confusing things that lead to many mistakes in resumes. If you come from a country whose native language is English, then you must use the spelling system of your country’s English.

However, if you are a non-native English speaker, it is better if you pick either the American spelling or the British spelling and stick with your choice throughout your resume. Mixing American and British spellings is not really recommended, for it can scratch the professional impression you are trying to make with your supposedly well-crafted resume.

This is called consistency.

It would also be a great idea if you use the same vocabulary as the English you have chosen. It is commonly known that American English and British English use different vocabulary to describe the same thing. So if you have decided to write your resume with British spelling, also try to use British vocabulary from beginning to end.

But apart from that, there seem to be some common spelling mistakes that many people do not usually pay attention to when writing their resumes. Most of the time, they do not even catch them when proofreading their resumes manually. So here are some of the most common typos to check for in your resume.

  • Writing Teh, manger, impliment instead of the, manager and implement
  • Mixing your and you’re, its and it’s, their, there, and they’re, then and than
  • Not knowing the difference between roll and role, principal and principle, ensure and insure, accept and except, affect and effect, compliant and complaint and complement and compliment

Your resume is the most crucial document that assists with your job search. Making sure that you build a compelling resume that highlights the top achievements of your career, your experience, and your potential is highly important, but ignoring what you may view as tiny mistakes can potentially hurt your chance of landing a good job.

Carefully checking your resume for capitalisation and spelling mistakes and learning how to write numbers and use compound modifiers before you send it out to recruiters can save you a lot of side hustle and spare you rejections you will not be told were caused by basic English mistakes.

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