When you first set out to seek employment, anyone who offered even a little bit of coaching on building a portfolio or resume probably emphasised the importance of being very meticulous with spelling and grammar (if they didn’t, then you may have been receiving bad advice).
Truthfully, no matter how impressive a resume, cover letter, curriculum vitae, or any other document that describes qualification, they can be instantly shattered by just one typo, one improper punctuation, or by using one word that “sounds good” but doesn’t actually mean what you think it means.
For a great majority of employers, how you present yourself and your experience can be just as telling, if not more so, than the experience yourself and whether or not you are a good fit for a certain position.
Upon starting any documentation of your qualifications, you may be overwhelmed with eagerness to make sure every little detail that you think is relevant to the position is made blatantly clear; this can make you neglect to properly structure your thoughts, and by extension, your sentences.
You’ll want to make sure you craft your sentences to be easily readable yet display competence in wordsmithing.
Especially when listing qualities, avoid long, drawn-out sentences, and remember to breakpoints periodically. Of course, it’s important to recognise when to use full stops, commas, semi-colons, and other punctuation marks to ensure good flow.
Full stops, or periods, should only be used to end a full sentence. A common mistake made on portfolio crafting is ending a simple statement with a period. For example, it’s better to leave “Experience with HTML and CSS” open like so, rather than a full stop as if it were a sentence. Commas, meanwhile, should be used for smaller breaks in sentences, whether it is to highlight a certain point of the sentence, add a one-off comment regarding a proceeding series of words, or to separate word or idea groups. The division of clauses via the use of commas is often misunderstood. For example, when describing an ideal work environment, saying you prefer “a fast-paced, group-oriented and open environment are some of the qualities I look for in an office setting”, can have a different meaning than saying you prefer “a fast paced, group oriented, and an open environment are some of the qualities I look for in an office setting”. Notice the comma after ‘group-oriented’ in the second sentence; this, in contrast to the first sentence which does not have this marking, indicates that you only need one of the three mentioned qualities to be in a comfortable work environment, whereas the first sentence conjoins all three mentioned aspects of a preferred office-setting and makes it clear that you would prefer they meet all the given criteria.
While doing a spellcheck, proofread, revision, among other things, are all obviously important aspects of crafting a good portfolio, embellishing your work with a variety of words to avoid redundancy demonstrates thoughtfulness.
Avoid excessive use of a single word; for example, if you find you are using the word “excellent” a lot, try replacing some of those with something else, such as “exceptional, superb”, to contribute to readability.
Having a dictionary is always handy, and a quick Google of synonyms for words you find you’re using a lot is also a great approach.
Need more help?
Reach out to the professionals at FAC3 if you still aren’t sure about what to do next. With their help, you don’t need to worry about putting your best foot forward. They’ll help you craft the perfect CV so that you don’t miss any important contact information, professional work history, or applicable skills and achievements. That way you can be sure your CV is perfectly tailored to any field you’re applying for.