The 5-Minute Resume Rundown You Need (Checklist Included!)

Do you ever just get sick and tired of looking at your resume? You’ve glanced it over so many times, it doesn’t even feel like you’re reading words anymore.

I’ve been there. I’ve convinced myself that if I had to tweak one more bullet point, I’d go permanently cross-eyed.

But, here’s the thing: It’s usually when you’re in this state that you’ll miss some facepalm-worthy errors and typos.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. So, rather than submit another embarrassingly mistake-ridden document, I figured the smart thing to do would be to develop a simple checklist I could use to give my resume one final check.

Spend just one minute checking over each of the five things on this list, and your last glance at your resume will only take you five minutes! And, because I’m all about making this as painless as possible for you, I’ve pulled those items into a handy checklist you can use to do one last glance at that resume of yours. Download it here!

That’s not so bad, right? And, take it from me, it’s well worth it.

1. Contact Information

I know, this one sounds painfully basic. And, if you’re anything like I used to be, this is a section you just skip over when it comes time to proofread your resume. You just assume it’s all correct.

That was all good—until I got married, changed my last name, and then neglected to update it on my document.

And, that’s not the only thing that can change in this deceivingly straightforward section.

Whether you got a more professional email address for your job hunt, changed your phone number, or moved to a new city, you need to ensure that the seemingly simple information included in the header of your resume is accurate.

2. Verb Tense

You left your most recent position and are now throwing yourself full-force into your job hunt. In the interest of keeping your information updated, you change the end date on that role from “present” to this month—and, that’s where you stopped.

But, there’s one more thing you’ll want to check and update.

If that position isn’t one that you’re currently working, you need to make sure to update the corresponding bullet points to past tense.

So, instead of saying something like, “Create newsletters to engage with an audience of over 200,000 subscribers,” you’d need to change that to “Created newsletters…”

It’s a small change, but an important one nonetheless.

3. Spelling and Grammar

Of course, you don’t want to press “send” on a document that’s littered with all sorts of grammar errors and spelling mistakes. And, believe it or not, spellcheck doesn’t catch everything.

This is why it’s important to give this one last look. I recommend reading your resume from the bottom to the top. This little trick will force your brain to read each and every sentence carefully—rather than skimming over the entire document (there are more helpful proofreading tips in this article, by the way).

If you find something that you’re unsure about? Do some searching or consult with a friend who’s a grammar aficionado to ensure you do things correctly.

4. Punctuation

One of your bullet points ends with a period, while the next is just a fragment with no punctuation at all.

No big deal, right? Not so fast. It’s important to be consistent—particularly if your resume touts your “attention to detail.”

Check the endings of all of your phrases and sentences to ensure you’re applying the same punctuation rules across the board (reading from the bottom to the top can help here too!). Oh, and let’s just get this out of the way: If you see an exclamation point anywhere, it’s best to swap that out for a boring ol’ period.

5. Formatting

Are you ready for my resume horror story? I had finished making all of my last-minute adjustments, saved the document as a PDF without ever scrolling to the bottom again, and sent it off.

When I finally opened that file again, I was horrified. My final tweaks had screwed up the formatting and pushed one line down to a second page. I had unknowingly submitted a two-page resume—but with only a few odd words awkwardly dangling on that additional page.

This is why I recommend that formatting is the final thing you look over. Scroll through your document (yes, all the way to the bottom!) to make sure that there are no strange spacing issues or places where your bullets have been bumped over. That extra one minute makes all the difference!

There you have it—all of the little things you should be sure to check over one more time.

Ready to get started? Grab the checklist!

Yes, I know how it feels to not want to have to look at your resume for another second. But, you don’t want to submit a less than polished document simply because your eyes are glazing over at the sight of your perfectly quantified bullet points.

So, it’s more than worth it to take an extra five minutes to double-check these basics. Use these points and the corresponding checklist to give your resume one final thumbs up, and you’re much more likely to submit a document that’s flawless.

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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