EduReviewerBlogResume Punctuation Guide: Should Resumes Have Periods?
Resume Writing

Resume Punctuation Guide: Should Resumes Have Periods?

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As a job seeker, you already know how important it is for your resume to be a hundred percent spot on. Resumes are formal documents created to itemize your job qualifications. Certain rules apply to business documents and mistakes that would cause HR to carelessly file your document and never get back to you. Yes, it happens.

Punctuations are so important when writing a resume. There are several reasons why, but the most important is that it gives your text a neat and comprehensive structure, making it easy on the eye of whoever is reading it at any given moment. If you write in your resume that you have great communication skills, but your use of punctuation is so off, how do you think that looks?

If you can’t communicate properly through writing, it doesn’t present you in a good light.

“You have to communicate succinctly in your workplace,” says Donna Svei, an executive resume writer. “If you can’t do that on your resume, you wouldn’t be able to do it in your job.”

So many job seekers ask questions like “Should I put periods on my resume?” and so on. The answer is not set in stone but listen. There are a few guidelines on how to use punctuation on a resume, and they are as follows:

Punctuation Rules for Resumes

Capitalization

Capital letters signify important words, and in addition to using them at the beginning of a sentence, you should be mindful of their placement. Besides real names like yours, the company name, the position, and section headings, there is no point in capitalizing any other word.

Hyphen

Usually, hyphens are used in compound adjectives before the noun. An example is a hard worker. If you have two adjectives modifying the same words, then feel free to use a hyphen. Be consistent in its use. If you used fast-learner somewhere in your resume and use fast learner somewhere else, it has completely set everything off, don’t you think?

Period

Should there be periods in a resume? Periods on resumes get overused or underused all the time. When using bullet points, stay away from periods. The last point at the end of the line can carry the period—only the last line.

Use bullet points to accentuate lists, and always divide long paragraphs into smaller sections.

Thea Kelley, a job search and interview coach, said, “As a society, we are moving more and more towards quick, visual communication, so our attention span for reading large blocks of text is eroding. I recommend concise paragraphs, bullet points, clear sections and headings, and concise language.”

So, should you use periods in a resume? The floor is yours.

Colons

They are used to separate two articles only when the first one is related to the second. It is also used to give emphasis or to introduce a list of texts. This is why you should use this punctuation in resumes sparingly.

Semicolons

Semicolons are the direct opposite of colons. They are used to separate two articles when the second clause is not related to the first one. Here’s an example: Proficient in the following skills: Communicating, computing, and Adobe photoshop.

Commas

The best route to take for using this punctuation in a resume is to use serial commas. This is done to avoid ambiguity and to make your texts easy on the eyes. You want HR to read it all, right? Now, who doesn’t? Put commas between clauses where necessary to avoid being misconstrued.

Bullets

List achievements and job qualifications with bullet points and not a huge block paragraph. How many bullet points to use per job? Find an answer and get more information about it on our blog.

“Too often, job seekers don’t think about the recruiter who receives their resume,” Donna Svei said. “That recruiter may be reading several hundred resumes. And when they see no white space, small font, and dense text, their heart sinks. It takes a dedicated professional to read a resume like that. And recruiters are like everyone else — some of them are dedicated, but some are lazy or just too busy. So ultimately, when you write a resume, you should have empathy for the human being reading it.”

Use bullet points to accentuate your texts and to make everything comprehensive enough for the reader to understand in one glance. This is one important resume punctuation skill that you shouldn’t compromise on. Should you use periods on a resume after bullet points? That will be discussed shortly. Read further.

Do You Use Periods In a Resume?

Of course, here is why…

Periods are important in a resume and are highly recommended. It denotes the end of a complete statement and helps to signify the end of a command. Also, if there are any abbreviations, the period is used to signify. When using periods in a resume, certain rules must and should be followed to avoid your resume looking unprofessional.

If you are one of those job-seekers who constantly ask, “Should I put periods in my resume?” or “Do resumes need periods?” then this is for you. Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it.

How to Use Periods on Resume

Spaces After a Period

Currently, it is most convenient to use one space after a period. Not two. Unless you are typing on an actual typewriter, the same goes for colons too. It might be a hard habit to break, seeing as we have been using the normal route for years, but always proofread your resume to adhere to this simple rule.

Do resumes have periods? Yes! Albeit, they have to follow this rule. One space, no more.

With Bullet Points

Should resumes have periods after every bullet point? The short answer is no. The longer answer is:

  • For every bullet point that is not a sentence, then there is no need to use periods.
  • However, if the bullet is a full sentence, then you might want to use a period. But ideally, to avoid any confusion, stay away from periods when using bullet points.

Consistency

Should you have periods in your resume or not? This is totally up to you, but one thing to be mindful of when using periods in resumes is consistency. If you put periods at the end of one sentence, you should put them at the end of every sentence.

If you put periods at the end of one bullet point, then you should put periods at the end of every bullet point. Missing one would look like an oversight, and you don’t want that.

Popular Mistakes People Make On Resumes

Sending Out The Same Resume

It is understandable why a job-seeker would want to do this, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that it is wrong and would likely end up with your resume being put aside. Even if the companies are in the same industry, sending out the same resume would be obvious, even if not for you. No company has the same culture, so you must tweak and edit some content before sending it out.

Writing Too Much Text

Less is more —and when writing resumes, no truer words have been said! No one wants to read a resume with too many pages. JM Auron, an IT Professional and Executive Resume Writer, talked about long resumes. He said:

“Even if you have a three-page resume, don’t make the reader dig through it. The writing on the first two pages, in particular, should be clear, effective, and compelling, and the third page can be for technical details if you need it.”

Unprofessional Email Addresses

This is a new age; there is no excuse for not having a professional email address when applying for jobs. There are many free email service providers, and in a few minutes, you should have set one up. A professional address makes you look smarter and a lot more ready for the responsibilities of a new task.

There is also a popular problem when jobseekers add non-working email.

Vik Vein, a resume expert from Resume Writing Lab told us: “There were many times when job seekers sent us their resumes through a contact form for a free review or to apply for a job and mentioned an email that was not reachable. So, unfortunately for these people, we couldn’t respond and help them with their resumes or careers.”

Bad Use of Punctuation

Use punctuation concisely. Should I use periods in my resume is a question of the past. Understand your texts and use punctuations accordingly, and also remember to be consistent.

Check our list of even more popular mistakes job seekers make in their resumes here.

Conclusion

Resumes are a lot of work, but you can try this difficult task into something straightforward with the right tips at your fingertips. The above tips would answer all your punctuation questions and would give you a good start on writing. Goodluck.

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