Common Grammar Rules For ResumesJenna Arcandon April 25, 2023 at 3:00 pm Work It Daily


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.

For example, all sentences are written like headlines without pronouns. Employers won’t be asking whose resume it is when your name is already on it, front and center. It is, therefore, unnecessary to include pronouns like “I” or “my” anywhere on your resume.

Resumes need to read like quick, bite-sized bits of information. Adding pronouns can make the information difficult to digest because there is unnecessary clutter around the facts the hiring manager wants to know.

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” because numbers draw the eye to your sentence.

Here are some common grammar rules around resume writing:

6 Common Grammar Rules To Follow In Your Resume

1. Forget about “I.”

There is no need to use “I” anywhere in your resume. For bullet points, just start with an action verb like “Delivered,” “Achieved,” “Produced,” etc. Follow these action verbs with quantifiable accomplishments and you’ll stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

2. Keep your sentences in the first person.

Hiring managers will cringe if they see that your resume is written in the third person. It’s even worse if you switch up points of view halfway through your resume. “Excel in developing comprehensive financial models,” is correct (first person) whereas “Excels in developing comprehensive financial models,” is not correct (third person). For all non-current positions, you can use the past tense so you won’t have to worry about using the wrong point of view.

3. Keep sentences short.

Fragments are encouraged. Long, descriptive sentences and bulky paragraphs are not going to impress recruiters and hiring managers. Why make it harder for them to figure out what kind of value you provide?

4. Use bullet points for achievements so they are noticed.

Break down information into easily digestible bits. Big blocks of text will likely get skimmed or overlooked entirely. Short bullet points where you quantify your work experience (using numbers) will definitely get you noticed by all the right people.

5. Take out fluff.

All you need is simple language. Do not use flowery phrases that would not come up in normal conversation. Any kind of resume fluff will hurt your chances of getting a call from an employer. Hiring managers will see right through it. When it comes to your resume, less is more.

6. Show the most important achievement first, starting with the quantifiable accomplishment.

For example, “Reduced costs 40% by bringing services in house.” It’s all about grabbing and keeping attention. If you can grab and keep a hiring manager’s attention while they’re reviewing your resume, you’ve already gotten much farther in the hiring process than most of the other job candidates.

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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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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