More than two-thirds of British CVs contain spelling errors, finds study

– Jobseekers are putting their interview chances at risk by not proofreading their CVs
– Candidates who highlight their spelling skills are more likely to include errors

An analysis of 20,000 CVs has found that a staggering 73% of British CVs contain spelling errors. And as many as one in five CVs contain at least five spelling mistakes, according to the research, compiled by job ads search engine Adzuna.

Jobseekers who boast of their excellent spelling skills are more likely to make five or more mistakes in their CVs than those who don't, found the study, while candidates who promote their written communication skills are only marginally less likely to do so.

When it comes to spelling, a number of words regularly trip up candidates, including 'management', 'proficient' and 'effective'.

Another common mistake is the use of unnecessary apostrophes, with one in eleven applicants reporting that they had gained 'GCSE's' and one in twenty CVs referring to 'KPI's'. 

The analysis, carried out on 20,000 CVs submitted to Adzuna's CV evaluation tool, also discovered that:

  • men are more likely to make spelling mistakes than women, with 22% of men's CVs containing five or more errors, compared with 16% of the women's CVs analysed;
  • many CVs used incorrect capitalisation or missed it out completely, with the county of Yorkshire winning the dubious crown of the region most frequently written in lowercase; and
  • candidates often styled company and product names incorrectly – for example, writing 'Npower' and 'iphone'.

Business spelling is often no more professional

Perhaps reassuringly for jobseekers, the research also found that many employers are themselves guilty of making spelling errors in their job adverts, regularly misspelling words including 'committee', 'achieve' and 'correctly'.

The research found that 'behaviour' was spelt incorrectly in 6% of the job ads it was used in, while the word 'chauffeur' was misspelt one in ten times it was used.

Meanwhile, 154 adverts included the word 'intergration', 144 mentioned 'buisness' and 70 were keen on attracting 'proffessional' applicants.

Commenting on the findings, Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Employers may doubt your alleged proficiency with PowerPoint if you don’t know where the capital letters should be placed, while failing to capitalise proper nouns can be taken as a sign of laziness or ignorance.

“With employers placing increasing importance on finding the right candidate over simply filling a vacancy, jobseekers need to be more aware than ever of creating a great first impression. The unfortunate fact is that a single misplaced lowercase letter could see a candidate relegated to the ‘reject’ pile.

“Rather than claiming to have a good grasp of grammar and spelling, the best way to demonstrate written communication skills to an employer is with a well-written, mistake-free CV.” 

Most commonly misspelled words – jobseekers vs employers

Ten of the most commonly misspelled words by jobseekers on CVs were:

  • Responsibility
  • Professional
  • Management
  • Liaising
  • Supervisor
  • Effective
  • Experience
  • Requirements
  • Maintenance
  • Proficiency

Meanwhile, employers struggled to spell the following words correctly in job adverts:

  • Behaviour
  • Accommodate
  • Further
  • Across
  • Achieve
  • Integration
  • Business
  • Management
  • Professional
  • Knowledge

If you need a final proofread of your CV – or job advert – you can get a quote for our proofreading services here.

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