There’s no point in having a cracking CV showcasing how great you are and why someone should hire you if you’re going to be let down with poor spelling and grammar. You might think these things are only trivial and that in the grand scheme of things that they don’t really matter – if you can do the job then what’s the problem if you have a typo here and there? Well, let’s consider why it is important to proofread your CV and what to look for.
Why is it important to proofread my CV?
You could be the most articulate, qualified and experienced person in the world and it doesn’t make up for lack of basic skills. English is a valuable skill, there’s no excuse for misspelling with the advent of spell check and google readily available to help you on the way. Let’s look at some skills good written English demonstrates:
• Attention to detail
• Communication skills
• Standard of education
• Meticulous nature
All of these traits are subliminally associated with people with good written English skills. People who make spelling mistakes and grammatical and punctuation errors are associated with the opposite: poor communication and lack of attention to detail. Employers are therefore put off by this and are much more likely to reject your CV than someone who has gone over their CV before hitting send.
What can I look out for when proofreading my CV?
When proofreading your CV there are a couple of common culprits you can look out for; make sure you don’t make the following mistakes:
Some common examples of misspellings on CVs include:
There, their and they’re – know which one to use and when! They’re is, they are, their is possessive such as their strategy (as in the manager’s strategy) and there is used to refer to a place or object.
Affect vs. effect – think of affect being a verb to influence something and effect as an adjective describing the result of something. Take this example: poor spelling and grammar on my CV will affect my chances of getting a job vs. the effect of poor spelling and grammar on my CV could be catastrophic.
Oh, and one more thing...use British English spelling, not American English (check your computer settings as Word often defaults to American).
Make sure you have short sentences, no longer than 2 lines. You are limited on space on your CV (c. 1 – 2 pages) so you need to make sure that you write concisely and clearly.
Use capital letters for the start of your name, address, place of work, locations, job titles etc. A lot of people do away with basic principles such as capital letters and full stops, don’t fall into that trap – if ever in doubt look it up. There are lots of useful resources out there to help such as Grammarly https://www.grammarly.com/1
Use a colon before a list (:) On your CV you can use it to introduce a list of duties e.g. my responsibilities include: x, y, z
Don’t forget the apostrophe (’). Apostrophes mark a possession i.e. the Manager’s decision (the decision of the manager) or a contraction of two words i.e. it’s (it is), haven’t (have not) or don’t (do not).
In addition to the above, double check any typos and formatting issues. If you’re not confident, ask someone else to help. It’s just a short amount of time to perfect your CV and make you look professional. It could be the difference between an interview and a rejection.
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