Want a sure-fire way to have your résumé instantly rejected?

Probably not.  But grammar and formatting errors will definitely put your food & beverage résumé on the fast track to a recruiter’s “circular file.”

So before you apply for your next Food Scientist or VP of Supply Chain position, carefully examine your résumé to see if you are making some of these common grammar and formatting mistakes:

Verb Tense

This one is straightforward.  Use present tense to describe your current position and past tense for all former positions.

Hyphenation

If an adverb qualifies an adjective (e.g., highly successful candidate), no hyphen is necessary.  When you use two words to describe a noun, however, and those two words act as a single adjective to describe the noun, those words are a compound adjective and must be hyphenated.

  • Incorrect:  stop gap measures, high impact package design, market driven sales program
  • Correct:  low-cost packaging design, problem-solving skills, high-energy candidate

Bullets

Format bullet phrasing, verb tense and capitalization consistently.  For simple list items, no punctuation is necessary. If list items are complete sentences, however, capitalize the first letter of each item and include a period at the end of each.  Bulleted phrases are trickier; consult your APA style manual to find specific, relevant examples.

  • Incorrect:
    • Negotiates sales contracts
    • Six national accounts won
    • Consultative sales professional
    • Versatile professional experience spanning sales, marketing, training, and data analysis
  • Correct:
    • Negotiated sales contracts
    • Won six national accounts
    • Honed professional, consultative sales skills
    • Acquired invaluable experience in sales, marketing training, and data analysis

Parallel Structure

When you write serial terms, you must write them in a parallel voice.

  • Incorrect: managed all aspects of dairy manufacturing including training and supervising staff, ingredients procurement, inventory control and coordinating all budgeting.
  • Correct: managed all aspects of dairy manufacturing including training and supervising staff, procuring ingredients, managing inventory, and coordinating all budgeting.

Commas

Consistency is key.  Since your résumé will likely contain several detailed, serial descriptions, it’s best to include a comma before the word “and,” especially when the final item in the list has the word “and” in the clause.

  • Confusing: coordinated ingredients handling, inventory planning and shipping and receiving operations.
  • Preferred: coordinated ingredients handling, inventory planning, and shipping and receiving operations.

Capitalization and Punctuation with Degrees and Job Titles

Again, consistency is key.  Pick a format and stick to it when presenting your education and job titles.  Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used.  General references, such as bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees, are not capitalized.

  • Incorrect: Masters Degree in supply chain management; earned a Bachelors Degree in 2006.
  • Correct: earned master’s degree in 2008; Bachelor of Food Science, 2006.

Need more help with your food & beverage résumé?

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