Grammar School: Personal Pronouns

Posted on Posted in Grammar School, Resumes

We’re going back to school today for the second post in my “Grammar School” series, focused on helping you avoid common mistakes when writing your resume.


Sometimes I see personal pronouns, specifically in the first person, used on resumes. While resumes are written in the first person, it’s not correct to use personal pronouns, as it conveys an informal tone. If you’re already confused, don’t worry! I first learned this stuff in school a long time ago, so let’s review.


What are personal pronouns?


A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing in the first, second, or third person.

  • I love going to the beach. (First person)
  • You might recognize this song from your childhood. (Second person)
  • She writes resumes for her clients. They watched the sun rise. (Third person)


How does this apply to my resume?


Resumes are written in first person, but without the use of personal pronouns. Even though you’re describing your skills, experience, and accomplishments, you won’t use words such as “I” or “my.” In most cases, you can simply omit the personal pronoun. Although sentence fragments might sound wrong to you at first, they are gramatically correct on your resume.


For example, if you were telling me about your most recent job, you might say, “I audited customer invoices for accuracy, and I followed up on unpaid invoices. I collected over $10,000.”


Your bullets might look like this:

  • Audited customer invoices for accuracy
  • Collected over $10,000 in unpaid invoices


In your summary statement, a similar rule will apply. Instead of saying “I’m an experienced and passionate professional,” you’ll write “Experienced and passionate professional.”

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