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CV text damages job prospects


‘Pour grammer, speling and using txt’ on CVs is damaging job prospects for thousands of people, according to research carried out by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

The nationwide survey of recruitment professionals found that 47 per cent said that half the CVs they received contained grammatical errors with the worst offenders in the 21-25 year-old age group.

Men are worse than women, with 70 per cent of respondents saying that a CV from a man is more likely to contain errors.

The survey found:

  • One of the most common mistakes is misspelling ‘curriculum vitae’

  • 27 per cent of respondents said that candidates looking for secretarial and clerical roles are most likely to include mistakes

  • Teachers are the least likely to include mistakes

  • 59 per cent of recruiters said that employers think that including hobbies and interests is a waste of space.

According to Marcia Roberts, chief executive at the REC, many employers won’t even consider job candidates who make basic grammatical mistakes on their CVs.

“Candidates who make errors run the risk of missing out on being short listed for a job for which they may have the right experience and qualifications,” she said.

“Feedback from our members, recruitment professionals across the UK, reveals that they are having to spend more time with candidates to make sure their CVs are up to scratch.

“According to the latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs, there is a strong demand for staff which indicates that job applicants need more help with getting into work.

“Some sectors, such as construction and engineering, experience ongoing skills shortages and it’s frustrating that from the outset, candidates are not doing themselves any favours in preparation towards securing that crucial first interview.”

3 Responses

  1. Thank goodness I asked for a covering letter!
    In response to a job ad, I today received a perfect c.v. from an applicant with no grammatical or spelling errors. His covering note, however, was a different matter……!

    I quote, “hi, i am repling to a job place in the local paper and in instrested in your position i have enclose a copie of my cv and look foward hearing from you”

    There is no way I will consider him for an interview as the position is for marketing and customer liaison (an often mis-spelled word which he copied correctly from the ad!).

    His c.v. had obviously been professionally prepared for him as the standard of it was a million miles away from his covering note.

  2. Sort of…..

    I agree in part with your views – spelling is not my strong point – and with modern technology (spell check etc) its becoming arguably less relevant.

    However isn’t the point more about the care and attention that people give to their CV’s. I will often dash off an email (or a post like this) without paying huge attention to grammar and spelling. However if I am applying for a job I would expect to check and double check it.

    If people can’t be bothered to put in that effort, or show the care and attention needed on two sides of A4 then I think that may be a suitable reason to reject them. Afterall spell checking works both ways!


  3. Discrimination or missing the point?
    What constitutes a spelling mistake?

    Which of these is the correct spelling:
    – organisation or organization?
    – sulphur or sulfur ?
    – analyse or analyze ?
    – criticise or criticize ?
    – memorise or memorize ?

    Yesterday I was talking with my eldest daughter (she is 14) and she mentioned that their science book used international English spellings. Yet for exams were expected to use UK spelling, but international was fine for course work. If we are educating our children to spell in various ways we need to be more flexible as to what is acceptable.

    As for my opening question which is the correct UK spelling for organisation? Well according to the Oxford English dictionary Z is the preferred spelling with s as an alternative, not as most people believe!

    The bottom line is if we have skills shortages and correct spelling is not critical to the role why are HR departments rejecting skilled people? It’s about the right skills for the right purpose. If you are rejecting CV’s because of grammar or spelling what if the candidate is having English lessons? Or is dyslexic?


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