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Resume Help/the word, resume, in cover letter

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Question
Hi Lisa,

How critical is it to use diacritical or accent marks on both "e" of the word, resume?  I was taught to use that a very long time ago when I was at college.  I dropped them in recent years because they don't show up properly in some (or all?) online applications.  I also don't see them most of the times online or offline.  As well, another expert on this website suggested me to use diacritical marks on the word, resume.  Could you please give me a second opinion?

Answer
Hi Mary,

Great question!  Will be happy to provide another perspective. I am also sure that if you screen other service providers you will have quite a few differing opinions to consider, as this subject continues to be a topic of interest among career development professionals.

The word resume is a verb. The word résumé is a noun and will typically be spelled with the accent mark over either both, or just the last letter e.

The two main reasons you will see the word spelled either online or on paper without the accent mark, is that many people have not mastered the use of the tools found in their word processor, or they lack the knowledge on how to manipulate data used in online information management programs.

Another reason to consider may be as simple as a lack of concern (lazy) on behalf of the typist (if everyone else types it without the accent mark - then I can too). In other words, it is not really critical to type the word correctly since the majority does not take the time to do it the correct way.

My take on using the word properly, is that it portrays knowledge, the use of good English, and infers creditability when associated with the professional.

It does not make sense that a career development professional can purport themselves to be a professional résumé writer and not portray the word properly, yet many do just that. They tend to justify this error by using the same observation that you provided - "because they do not show up properly in some or all online applications." When actually, if the end user knows how to manipulate the systems and data this would not be a problem, and they would actually be teaching others how to do the same!

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to watch many career development professionals and job search enthusiasts modify their websites and documents, to set them selves apart from the less informed. Thus some use the word in the proper text, and some chose not to, and still will justify their decision with somewhat weak arguments.

The answer to your question may be as simple as 'it is a personal choice' - but one that should be made with great care. Is it not interesting that the first thing most of us do is take note when professional service providers or even journalists misspell a word?  

I hope this helps you with developing a list of perspectives that include all of the reasons why and why not to spell the word properly!

Lisa  

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Lisa Parker, CPRW

Expertise

As a Certified Executive Résumé Master (CERM), Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Facilitator, and retired service member; I can answer your questions on a variety of subjects. Ask me about résumé and cover letter preparation, military transition, federal or government résumé resources and other career development topics.

Experience

28 years of combined experience in both Federal and State organizations. Extensive background in promoting personal and professional development, and providing career development guidance.

Organizations
Career Directors International (CDI), National Résumé Writer's Association (NRWA), Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW-CC), Career Thought Leaders (CTL), Disabled American Veterans - Life Member, Cambridge Who's Who-Life Member.

Publications
Résumé for Dummies-7th Edition Quill Magazine Pro-Files Magazine Spotlight Newsletter (PARW-CC) The Business Writer's Handbook Handbook of Technical Writing

Education/Credentials
Certified Executive Résumé Master (CERM), Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), Labor and Employment Specialist, Case Management, Instructor/Trainer, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Facilitator.

Awards and Honors
Customer Service Award - 2007 GA Department of Labor

Past/Present Clients
Career Professionals from a variety of career fields and professional backgrounds (Entry Level, Professional Level, Executive Level, Military Transition, Government Applicants, Federal Executive Applicants).

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