Grammar Mistakes to Avoid on a Resume or Cover Letter

Grammar mistakes to avoid at all costs.

No one is going to argue that spelling and punctuation mistakes can kill a resume or cover letter. However, grammar mistakes can be less obvious but are just as deadly. They may not even be noted by spellcheck, Grammarly, and other tools used to detect such things.

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The following are common grammar mistakes you want to be sure to avoid in your resume and cover letters.

1. Your vs. You’re

“Your” is possessive, while “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”


Your resume does not have any grammatical errors. (the resume belongs to you!)

You’re going to need to edit your resume for spelling mistakes. (you are the one who needs to make the changes).

2. Its vs. It’s

“Its” is possessive, and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is.”


Your resume has lost its persuasiveness due to so many errors.  

It’s a wonderful thing when your resume is perfect. (it sure is, isn’t it?).

3. Then vs. Than

“Then” is primarily an adverb used to situate actions in time, while “than” is a conjunction used most often to make comparisons.


You submitted your resume and then you got an interview. (the interview came after the resume). 

Your resume is much better than his. (we’re comparing yours and his resumes).

4. Their vs. There vs. They’re

“Their” is possessive (it belongs to them), “there” is a noun (place), and “they’re” is a contraction of they are.


Their resumes were not as well written as yours. 

Please submit your resume over there on the table. 

They’re not qualified for the job. 

5. Seen vs. Saw

‘Saw’ is the past tense of the word ‘see’ while ‘seen’ is the past participle. ‘Seen’ is never used as a standalone verb and is generally accompanied by words such as ‘have’, ‘had’, ‘was’, among others.

NEVER USE THE WORD SEEN LIKE THIS:  I seen on your resume that you worked at IBM.

Examples of correct use:

I saw a job posting for my dream job. 

I have seen that job posted before by that company. 

P.S. Don’t use this improperly when speaking either.

6. To vs. Too vs. Two

To, too and two are homophones that often confuse people.

  • ‘To’ is used to show motion
  • ‘Too’ means ‘also’ or ‘extremely’
  • ‘Two’ means the number 2

Examples of correct use:

I’m going to submit my resume today.

I, too, will submit my resume for that job. 

I submitted my resume for two different jobs today. 

Do you need to go back and double-check?

Take another look at your cover letter and resume while keeping these common grammar mistakes in mind. It’s easy to overlook them, but they could cost you an interview or a job.

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