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Annie Hayes



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Spelling slipups top CV blunder list


A misspelt word is the number one CV crime according to a new poll.

Over half of respondents (54%) in a poll conducted by recruitment outfit, Select Appointments cited spelling mistakes as their biggest pet hate, 17% admitted to being annoyed by a bad layout, and 16% said they are turned off if an applicant’s resume is too long. The use of ‘buzz words’ irritated one in ten employers.

Nicola Severn, for Select said: “Basic spell check facilities are available on the vast majority of modern computers and as such there is no excuse for sloppy spelling. A CV should be seen as a chance to shine. It is a direct reflection of the applicant and if the CV is considered inaccurate or badly organised, there is a danger the applicant will be too.”

Talking exclusively to HR Zone, Catherine Maskell, brand manager for Reed Employment said that from their experience it was lengthy CVs that cost candidates the chance of employment: “One of the main pet CV hates is when a CV is too long and appears to say a lot but not say much at all. It often includes a list of jobs the candidate has undertaken but doesn’t necessarily highlight their achievements or how this experience is relevant to the job they’re applying for. It is important to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. In a highly competitive market where there is a war for top talent, a standard CV full of waffle simply won’t stand out from the crowd.”

Recent research commissioned by the Spelling Society revealed that as many as around half of British adults are unable to spell commonly used words such as embarrassed, liaison or millennium.

One Response

  1. Limitations of spell checkers

    Spell checkers are fine as long as your typo does not match an existing spelling. *nun for *none will usually be accepted.

    Spell checkers will sometimes but not always provide you with a list of possible spellings if you write a plausible spelling of the word.

    The sound spelling, sapeena, rarely results in the suggested spelling: sub poena.

    If you take 100 common words in English, German, Spanish and Italian you will find that 50 of them will have ambiguities or irregularities in English. Only 10 will have an ambiguous spelling in Spanish and only 8 will have an ambiguous spelling in Italian.

    Second year students of these languages can usually spell in the foreign language better than they can in their native English.

    In other alphabetic writing systems, there are no code overlaps and usually only one plausible alternative spelling. In English the same spelling pattern may be assigned to more than one phoneme and there are many plausible spellings.

    The word, scissors has over 1000 possible spellings. The best guess might be *sissers where s = /z/ except in an onset.

    *Sissers is close enough for most spell checkers to guess that you are trying to spell scissors.

    Most words in English can be plausibly spelled about 4 different ways. An average of 4 spellings per phoneme accounts for 85% of the spellings in the dictionary. 15% of the words in the dictionary don't follow any pattern.

    This may start to explain why people have difficulties with English spelling and why a spell checker and a dictionary is needed.

    For more on this topic, go to

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Annie Hayes


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