Resumes & Cover Letters Tools & Skills

8 Misused Words on Your Resume That Make You Look Bad

Written by Jessie Liu

English can be a difficult language to use, and whether making out a resume and cover letter or speaking to a hiring manager, using the wrong word can leave a negative impression. By using words that are not as familiar, it can be easy to make a mistake. Because hiring managers carefully look at your resume, you want to be sure you don’t make any of the following common errors.

1. Compliment or Complement

Although most people may realize that compliment means to say something nice to someone, it can get confused with the word complement. The word complement means that it improves something or completes it, such as “This app complements the others you need to get the job done.”

2. Further or Farther

Although both words have something to do with distance, further represents a degree of distance while farther represents an actual distance. The easiest way to remember the difference between the two is whether you can substitute the word more. If you can, the proper word is further. An example is “I traveled farther today, but the area needs further investigation.”

3. Accept or Except

Two words that can be confused because they sound so similar are accept and except. To accept something means to receive it. Except means to exclude something. An example is, “I accept your kind words, except for the comment that I should try harder.”

4. Insure or Ensure

These two commonly misused words are simple to sort out. Insure always alludes to insurance. Ensure means to make something occur or be sure. An example is, “I insure my property, to ensure that it is protected.”

5. Comprise or Compose

Comprise and compose are two words misused commonly in English. Comprise is an inclusive word that refers to the whole. Compose refers to parts. “When this writer composes a play, he comprises it of three acts.”

6. Fewer or Less

These two confused words also refer to a whole or parts of a whole. The word fewer is used when talking about definite numbers as a whole. Less is used when the number is indefinite. An example might be “Fewer people attended the concert but paid less money because of the discount.”

7. They’re or There

Some similar words such as they’re and there are commonly misused. They’re is a contraction that means they are. There refers to a place. An example is “They’re going to the theater over there.”

8. It’s or Its

It’s is a contraction that only means it is, while its is a possessive. A simple way to tell the difference is to write out the words for the contraction. You would not say “It’s blue blanket” because it would read “It is blue blanket” when written out.

Knowing the correct words to use when writing a resume or cover letter can help get you an interview for a position as you apply to different job sites. TheJobNetwork can help by scouting out jobs for you. All you do is fill out your qualifications and the type of job you want, and we do the rest by combing through job openings and searching for new ones as they arise. You will be notified by email when jobs matching your description are available. Sign up for job match alert to find your dream job.

About the author

Jessie Liu

Jessie Liu is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, Digital Analytics, Content Marketing and Social Media. She helps lead TheJobNetwork’s content marketing efforts, including content strategy and promotion strategy. She believes in data-driven decision making. She recently adopted a Beagle mix puppy named Happy. Feel free to tweet her @jessiecliu for pictures of her adorable new puppy or just any marketing related stuff.