Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 5 Grammar Mistakes Your Resume Can’t Afford

Anyone is entitled to a writing mistake, especially when creating something as challenging as a resume. There are so many components to consider while writing that it can be difficult to account for small errors. For the most part, a hiring manager reading a resume can forgive a couple of typos that anyone could fail to see. But there are some grammar mistakes that are simply deemed unforgivable. Here are five your resume simply can’t afford:

1. Contractions vs. Possessive Pronouns

A common grammar mistake your resume can’t afford is the improper use of contractions and possessive pronouns. For example, the sentence, “I ensured the company met it’s target goal,” is incorrect. Instead of using the contraction of the words “it is,” you want to write “its” to show the pronoun “it” possesses the goal.

2. Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For instance, “to,” “two,” and “too” are all homophones because they are used differently in sentences. If you accidentally use the wrong homophone in your resume, the reader may think you either have little knowledge of elementary grammar, or failed to edit your resume. No matter the reason, this mistake could be unforgivable.

3. Apostrophe Use

The correct use of an apostrophe is expected in any professional document, and your resume is no exception. An example of incorrect use would be, “I collaborated with multiple manager’s to facilitate top-level business projects.” In this sentence, “manager” was simply supposed to be plural, not take a possessive form. If this type of mistake was found on your resume, a hiring manager could penalize you for failing to pay attention to detail.

4. Tenses

Using tenses incorrectly can also serve as a deal-breaker for some employers. Simple mistakes like confusing the present and past tenses of words like “manage” and “managed,” or “prepare” and “prepared” are easy to spot and can hurt your chances of being taken seriously as a candidate.

5. Subject-Verb Agreement

The general rule of subject-verb agreement is that the subject of a sentence should always agree with its verb in number and person. If the subject is third-person singular, you must add an “s” to the verb. And if the subject is plural, do not add an “s.” In the sentence, “They manage multiple budgets,” the verb “manage” requires no “s” because the subject “they” is plural.

Avoiding grammar mistakes like those listed above can work wonders in improving your eligibility as a candidate. By leaving superficial errors off of your resume, you give the employer more time to focus on the depth of your qualifications.

It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Jotamoi Anin on July 29, 2020 at 3:20 am


    I am freelance translator and interpreter.
    I would like to learn and get help from you about how to write and improve my CV form.
    I hope that you will reply me soon.

    Jotamoi Anin

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