As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, there is a science behind resume writing that goes deeper than mere words on a page. I write a resume to reach several audiences, including strangers who don’t know you or your occupation, the hiring director who does know your occupation, and a computer that scans it first.I have to be mindful of the number of lines I put into a paragraph, worry about orphaned words, typos, incorrect verbiage, the right key words that will get your resume a hit, and the key words that will send the resume to a spam folder. Of course it also has to be easy to read, navigate, and understand.

On top of that, there are Gregg Reference Manuals, AP Style Books, and the Oxford Dictionary that are used by universities, journalists, and English gurus to ensure I abbreviate correctly, place the comma or semi-colon in the right place, and remain consistent with first and second references, etc. Heaven forbid if I mix a gerund with a verb.

But I don’t follow everything in these books, and here’s why: Doing so may downplay items. or worse, bury them, in your resume–meaning none of it will get read. For example, which grabs your attention more quickly:

Four out of five dentists choose Trident gum, or 4 out of 5 dentists choose Trident gum?

Spelling out four and five is the correct way to write. Using the numerals is not. But the numerals are impactful and literally jump off the page. That’s why you see this rule broken inĀ  advertising copy rather than see grammar rules followed to the letter.

My goal is to get you an interview. And if that means breaking a few rules, then so be it. Unless you’re applying for a job as a professor of English, most recruiters won’t be dinging you for not following a style book.

Everything I do when it comes to your resume is substantiated by years of experience and tested results. And sometimes that means breaking a few rules.