13 Dumb Grammar Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume

Grammar mistakes can be a serious issue for hiring managers and recruiters. Those candidates who have grammar or spelling mistakes on their resumes can be thrown to a “No” pile right away. Even if your resume is perfectly written and organized but there are some mistakes, it means a rejection for you. The slightest details matter. Remember that resume grammar has to be impeccable. A grammar mistake can cost you a job as it’s a sign of inattention to details, lack of knowledge or simple carelessness. To avoid disappointing recruiters with dumb mistakes we want you to check out the most common resume errors you should never make.


#1 Its vs It’s

This one is among the most common spelling mistakes job seekers make on their resumes. It’s very easy to make but it can damage the whole application. These words sound the same but have different meanings. “It’s” is a contraction for the words “it is” whereas “its” is a possessive pronoun which is referring to an inanimate object.

I want to pursue this career field as it’s the area of my main interest.

While exploring a company’s marketing strategy I reviewed its website.

#2 Your vs You’re

This is another one among common spelling mistakes. Even when it comes to such an easy phrase, better think twice before you start typing. Some people, especially non-native speakers get confused with this phrase. Some people make this mistake while simple writing in a rush. “You’re” is a contraction for the phrase “you are” and is used to describe a person. “Your” is a possessive noun that refers to a person.

You’re about to read the motivation letter of an accomplished professional. 

I am excited to work in your professional team.

#3 Their vs There vs They’re

Don’t be afraid or reluctant to ask someone else to check your resume before applying. These commonly misspelled words are among top resumes mistakes. “Their” is a possessive noun just like “your” and “its”. It refers to multiple people though. “There” is used to point out some place whether concrete or abstract. “They’re” is a contraction for a phrase “they are”.

They’re doing a great job with a new project.

Their decision to sell a company was wrong.

I learned a lot of new skills and knowledge there.

#4 Too vs Two

This mistake occurs as it’s super easy to make and it can even seem like a simple typo. However, this minor mistake can be a sign for recruiters. They can consider it as a demonstration of your careless attitude about a company you decided to apply for. Remember, that a recruiter gets 100-200 resumes per one job opening, so you have no right for a mistake even like this one.

I am too eager to tackle new career challenges.

I hired and managed two new team members.

#5 Affect vs Effect

This mistake can significantly impact the most important area of your resume as these words are widely used in this section. Improper use of these words can have a negative outcome for your resume review. “Affect” is a verb that means to influence something whereas “effect” is a noun that means the result of some actions.

My outstanding performance had a major effect on the company’s growth.

This professional course has positively affected my analytical skills.


#6 Ensure vs Assure vs Insure

These are also common grammar errors you should steer clear of. “Ensure” means to make sure that something will or won’t happen. “Assure” has a slightly different meaning which is to remove any doubt or hesitation. This word can be easily replaced with a ”promise”. “Insure” means to arrange for some financial compensation against the loss. This verb is better to use for those people who work in insurance.

I ensured the smooth work processes.

I assure you that the conversion rate will increase.

#7 Then vs Than

A lot of people usually get these two adverbs confused. The adverb “then” means the sequence of some events and is used in relation to time. It can also replace the phrase “in addition to”. The adverb “than” is used to describe something in comparison whether it’s a person or an object.

Working as a manager was more rewarding than as an assistant.

Then I decided to quit the job and look for some new challenges.

#8 Compliment vs Complement

This one is also very easy to mix up. So, a compliment is when a person says something positive and pleasant about you. On the contrary, a “complement” is an additional thing or a supplement to a person or an object. 

I got a very nice compliment from my manager today.

My personality and professionalism can be a complement to your motivated and young team.

#9 Principal vs Principle

This is one of the most common grammar mistakes that candidates make on their resumes. “Principal” is a noun that refers to the highest person in rank or to the main participant. “Principle” is a noun that means a standard, fundamental truth or law.

I implemented this principle while managing newcomers at work.

A principal was satisfied with my performance.

resume errors

#10 Advice vs Advise

These two words are simple to confuse. “Advice” is a noun which means guidance or recommendation whereas “advise” is a verb which means to give someone some guidance. Pay extra attention to these words while checking your resume. Once again, recruiters won’t forgive you even the smallest mistake in your resume, so be careful.

I advised clients on diverse product management issues.

The main advice to my trainee was to be more assertive.

#11 Confident vs Confidant

While describing yourself as a professional an adjective “confident” is a really nice one. “Confident” is a characteristic of a person who is certain in their abilities and skills. However, some people can misspell the words and write it as “confidant” which has a completely different meaning. “Confidant” is a person with whom you share secrets or private details and trust them.

Confident and accomplished professional is looking for a job. 

#12 Excessive usage of passive voice

It’s better to avoid passive sentences or clauses in a resume. It makes your resume harder to read and understand and it clutters your writing with unnecessary words. Passive voice distracts a recruiter from what’s written so try to change it.

Instead of writing “Over 25% conversion rate was achieved during the tenure” try this variant - “Achieved 25% conversion rate throughout my tenure”.

#13 Unmatched verb tenses

Let’s remind that the verb tenses have to agree with one another in a sentence or even in a section. Be careful while using tenses in your summary, so that a recruiter can accurately portray the timing and sequence of your career events. Usually, verbs are commonly used in your duties and responsibilities list. Many job seekers forget about matching tenses while specifying their duties in a role description. They start with past simple and then switch to present simple in a bullet point list. The following example is wrong:

  • collaborated with marketing managers
  • monitored the performance of new employees
  • create an annual marketing plan

You have to use past or present tense in all of the bullet points.

Now when you know the common mistakes go and check your resume. The last advice is to use a resume grammar check that will check your resume for the grammatical mistakes. You will significantly save your time and all mistakes will be detected so you can improve your resume spelling.

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