Use of English:
- Singapore Universities: US English
- American Universities: US (American) English
- European Universities: UK (British) English
For the text:
- Fonts to use: For a traditional look use a serif font such as Times New Roman. For a more contemporary look, use Arial or Calibri. These fonts are easily recognized by most scanners
- Font size to use: For text, use font sizes of 10 to 12; for headings, use 11 to 14.
- Headings: Use boldface and/or capital letters for section headings. Do not use italics. Italicized words often cannot be read properly
- For the page: Justify the document. Always align the document. Only the Name and contact details should be centred; the main document is in justified alignment.
- Avoid graphics: Avoid vertical or horizontal lines, text boxes, tables, columns or any such special formatting
- Bullet points: When using bullets avoid special characters such as arrows or checkmarks. Preferably use only black round bullets and the hollow round ones (bubbles) for sub-points (if any). Maintain uniformity of design and alignment when using bullets
- Spacing: Line spacing of all documents should be single unless stipulated otherwise by a specific university. There should be no spacing between subheadings and the text. Before and after spacing should be set at 0
- Indentation: Left – 0; Right – 0
- Margins: Margins should be set at ‘Normal’ (1 inch). If resume content needs to be adjusted to fit a little more, one can set the margin at the ‘Moderate’ setting. Avoid using ‘Narrow’ margins
- Colour: Always use Auto black. Do not use any other colour, not even for subheadings
- Software names such as MATLAB, in uppercase
- Capital letters within sentences: ‘The’ when in the middle of the sentence should be small; the specific university should be written with a capital U, specific school and department in title case
- Names of specific courses in sentence case, and general subjects should be in lower case
- Editors often make mistakes like capitalizing ‘national technical symposium’, which is not correct. Only names should be capitalised
- A geographical region is not capitalized. Thus, south India, or east Bengal
- Always use Active Voice
- 'Though’ and ‘but’ are never to be used together in one sentence
- Colon is used to join two independent clauses when you wish to emphasize the second clause. For example -- Julie went to the store for some groceries: milk, bread, coffee, and cheese.
- A semicolon is used to join two independent clauses when the second clause relates to the first and they are of equal importance. For example - The manager did not approve the plan; he suggested several changes.
- Commas – in a list of three or more commas follows the item before --- John, Paul, and George. In a list of two, there are no commas.
- No space before and after (/) forward slash.
- em dash, en dash and hyphen (-)[use for connecting two things that are intimately related eg. two-thirds];, en dash (–)[use for connecting things that are related to each other by distance, as in the 12th May 2012– 15 September 2013], and em dash (—)[use to probably serve as a sort of bullet point]
- Periods and parenthesis - If the words inside the parentheses aren't a complete sentence, the period, question mark, or exclamation point that ends the sentence goes after the parenthesis:
- Squiggly likes chocolate (and nuts).
- Could Aardvark bring home candy (quickly)?
- If the words inside the parentheses are a complete sentence, the period, question mark, or exclamation point that ends the sentence goes inside the parenthesis:
- Bring chocolate. (Squiggly likes sweets.)
- Buy candy. (Bring it quickly!)
- Single quotes - Use for titles of projects, books, workshops, seminars or publications.
- Double quotes - Used only for original quotes
The same pattern should be used throughout. If one is using December 12, 1980, then the same pattern should be followed in one document. You can also use the abbreviated form but maintain uniformity. For example Sep 10 – Oct 15, 2019
Names of projects/books:
- Topics or projects- Within single quotes- ‘Secure online voting system using RFID’, when writing in LOR or SOP, while in the resume it can be bold. Do not highlight, italicize or use capital letters
- Books: Within single quotes- ‘The Fountainhead’ and not in italics, bold or capital letters
- Publication: Name of authors, title/ topic of the paper, name of the journal and then these volume, version, year can be written
- All monetary values should be written in US dollars
- If writing in Indian currency, then write INR before the amount. The units are thousands, lakh and crore for India and million elsewhere. We should write INR 5 lakh, and ‘INR 5-lakh deficit’ (where the amount is used as an adjective). There is no stop after INR but there is a space between the currency and the amount, e.g. INR 450. For pound sterling and dollars, however, there is no space (£45, $70).
- An abbreviation that is a contraction, i.e. that retains its first and last letters, should appear without a stop, e.g. Mr, Ms, Mrs, Dr, St (for street and Saint)
- However, an abbreviation that does not retain its original last letter must appear with a stop, e.g. Prof., Maj., Capt.
- For abbreviated names, there are stops but no spaces between initials, but space after, e.g. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
- There are stops after abbreviated names of parts of a book, e.g. vol. 5(Or v. 5), no. 3, sec. 11, p. 92
- Do not use abbreviations like etc., e.g., i.e.
- Educational degrees like BA, MA, MBBS, BTech, MPhil, and PhD are used abbreviated but with no stops. There are no stops also in abbreviated names of states like UP, MP, HP or WB.
- In the first instance of using an abbreviation in a document, first name the “thing” and then add its abbreviation in parenthesis. Organizational or institutional names like DRDO, PMO, SAIL, and TELCO or CBI or NASA should be spelt out on the first appearance and abbreviated thereafter
- It is fine to use commonly understood abbreviations like USA and UK or TV (not tv) and CD (not cd).
- Below are some more terms that are universally acknowledged; so, there is no need to expand them. In fact, expanding can actually make us seem ignorant!
- IEEE - http://www.ieee.org/index.html - pronounced eye-triple E
- IAYP - https://www.iayp.in/about_the_award.htm
- Baja SAE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baja_SAE - pronounced ba-ha S A E
- AIESEC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIESEC - pronounced eye-sek
- SPIC MACAY - http://www.spicmacay.com/
- IB Diploma - http://www.ibo.org/diploma/
- Numbers till nine should ideally be spelt out and if a sentence contains many numbers below twenty, they should be spelt out
- Numbers from 10 onwards will be written in figures
- Numbers beyond 20, when written in words, will be hyphenated, e.g. ‘fifty-one’
- Figures beyond 10,000 will be separated by commas for every two digits, e.g. 20,000; 1,20,000; 12,20,000
- 80 Percent or 80% - It should be 80%
- Affect/Effect: Affect (verb); ‘to affect’ means to act upon or influence. Effect (noun); ‘an effect’ (a positive or a negative effect) is the result of being affected by something. There is also a verb, ‘to effect’, which means to bring something about – ‘to effect a change’.
- Among/between: Between emphasizes the individual, among the group. Logically, between should be used to indicate reciprocal relationships, and among collective ones.
- Appraise/Apprise: Appraise means to evaluate, set a price on. Apprise means to inform.
- Along with: Not ‘alongwith’.
- Any more: Not ‘anymore’.
- Any time: Not ‘anytime’.
- Anything, anywhere, anyway, anyone: One word.
- Benefited/Benefiting: Not benefitted/benefitting.
- Can, may, will, shall: 'Can' applies to what is possible; 'May' applies to what is permissible; 'Will' expresses simple futurity; 'Shall' expresses a sense of definitiveness and determination.
- Centre on: Not ‘centre around’, as common parlance has it. You can ‘circle around’ something, but ‘centring around’ something is physically impossible.
- Compare to/with: ‘Compare to’ is used to liken things, ‘compare with’ is used to consider their similarities and differences.
- Comprise: Is not followed by of, unlike consist and compose. The whole comprises the parts.
- Data: Is actually plural, but is generally used as a singular: no one says ‘datum’ any more.
- Different: One thing is different from another; not different 'to'.
- Disinterested: This is not the same as uninterested. Disinterested means impartial, unbiased.
- Every day/Everyday: Everyday is one word only when used as an adjective, e.g. ‘an everyday occurrence’.
- Farther/further: Farther refers to literal (and therefore measurable) distance, further to figurative distance.
- Forego/forgo: To forego is to precede. To forgo is to do without.
- Hour, heir, honest, honour: The only words starting with h where the h is silent, and which need to be preceded by an, rather than a. Historian/historical and hotel should be preceded by a, not an.
- Ingenious/Ingenuous: Ingenious means skilful, clever. Ingenuous means frank, free from deception.
- In spite of: Not ‘inspite of’.
- Its/It’s: The most common mistake still. ‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘it’; ‘it’s’ is an abbreviation for ‘it is’.
- Licence/license: Licence is the noun, license the verb.
- Men’s, women’s, children’s: The apostrophe should come before the s, since the words are already plural
- Riveted/Riveting: Not rivetted / rivetting
- Some time/Sometime: One word, except when ‘some’ is being used as a separate adjective
- Who/whom: Whom is used when it is the object of a preposition (‘to whom it may concern’) or verb (‘the man whom we saw last night’). Who is used in all other cases
- It is under-graduation but undergraduate; similarly, it is co-curricular, but extracurricular
Correct Spelling Incorrect Spelling
Correct and incorrect spellings will be caught by the spell-check option so do keep checking.
Commonly Misspelt Words:
two c’s and two m’s
two l’s and two n’s
One c and 2 m’s