15 Common Resume Typos and Spelling Errors to Avoid


Proofread Your Resume for Typos and Misspellings

It’s been preached from every career advice mountain top out there that certain missteps in your job search are really tough to overcome. But everyone makes mistakes, right? So will one resume typo ruin your job chances with an employer?

According to a survey by TopResume, a whopping 79% of surveyed recruiters and HR managers said spelling and/or grammatical errors were considered a deal breaker. Clearly, it is in your best interest to carefully proofread and review your resume for any typos.

Here are some of the most common resume typos that show up time and time again. Whether due to quick typing, your eyes glazing over the error, autocorrect “helping,” or not knowing the difference between two words, these typos can guarantee you’ll be out of the running for any job.

15 Common Resume Typos to Avoid

Definitely vs. Defiantly

Most likely 100% of the time you mean to say “definitely,” not “defiantly,” as it can be easy to misspell on a resume. Defiantly has a negative connotation, meaning showing resistance or refusal to do something. Another common misspelling is swapping out the second “i” for an “a” and getting “definately.”

Ensure vs. Insure

“Insure” most often means to provide or obtain insurance and is often recommended to only use in financial contexts. For all other reasons, use “ensure,” meaning to make sure, certain, or safe.

Its vs. It’s

Yes, those dreaded contractions often lead to resume typos! “It’s” is a contraction that means “it is”—envision that apostrophe as a stand-in for the “i” in “is” to help you. “It’s” is not a possessive form, though it may feel like it should be. Unless you’re saying “it is” or “it has,” use “its.”

Lead vs. Led

Deemed the top resume spelling mistake in an MSN article, lead vs. led is tricky for even most grammar-inclined. If you’re talking about your current duties, use “lead” (pronounced “leed”), but if you’re talking about past duties, use “led.”

Manager vs. Manger

Be careful to avoid this common resume typo. A “manger” is a stable that holds livestock. It can be super easy to miss that extra “a” to make it “manager,” which is definitely the word you’re looking for—unless you work at a stable!

Principal vs. Principle

“Principle” refers to a law, rule, or doctrine. “Principal” is most often a person. So if you’re using this word in relation to your job title, you were likely the Principal of the school or the Chief Principal Officer.

Pubic vs. Public

We can nearly guarantee you’ll never be using the word “pubic” on your resume. Don’t miss that “l” or you’ll be feeling awkward!

Recieve vs. Receive

“I before E, except after C” should be ingrained in your head from school, but it’s easy enough to forget. Don’t flip-flop “e” and “i” in receive or you’ll definitely stand to get your resume thrown out!

Results vs. Resluts

Not that we have any personal experience with making this embarrassing typing mistake…ahem. It goes without saying, watch your fast typing fingers!

Role vs. Roll

Autocorrect won’t help you when it comes to deciding which version of this word to use. If you’re talking about any position you held, use “role.” “Roll” as a noun is something balled up or a list.

Separate vs. Seperate

This resume typo is easy to make when both spellings can initially look correct at first glance. Remember that the correct spelling has an “e” at the beginning and end, and an “a” in two spots in the middle: “separate.”

The vs. Teh

Speeding fingers gets you the dreaded “teh” instead of “the.” Our brains often automatically correct this word as we’re reading text, making it difficult to spot.

Their vs. They’re vs. There

You simply have to assess your meaning each time you go to write this word. “There” refers to a place (“I put it there”), “they’re” is a contraction of “they are” (“They’re going to school”), and “their” is a possessive form of “they” (“Their accomplishments were impressive”).

To vs. Too

Are you referring to something additional? Use “too” (I have studied Spanish too”). Use the preposition “to” in all other instances, unless you’re talking about something countable (“two”)!

Your vs. You’re

The bane of an English teacher’s existence is probably the misuse of these two words! “You’re” is a contraction that means “you are.” Again, our trick is to think of the apostrophe as a fill-in for the letter “a” in “are.” If you don’t mean to say “you are,” use “your.”

Get Professional Help with Your Resume

Don’t let overlooked resume typos and spelling mistakes undermine your ability to get interviews and to secure a job!

If you’re a FlexJobs member, you’ve got another ace in your pocket—access to our resume review service. Our price is 65% off typical resume review rates and the service provides you with up to two hours working with a career coach.

Our expert coaches will help you with structure, formatting, wording, and more to help get your resume matched up with your skills and goals. This extra set of eyes can be invaluable in keeping typos out of your resume!


Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

A version of this article was originally published on March 31, 2009.

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Rachel Jay, FlexJobs Editor and Writer

Rachel Jay is a Content Specialist for the award-winning site FlexJobs. She has worked remotely full time since 2012 and believes strongly in the benefits of remote work. With years of experience as an editor, she strives to help make…Read More >

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