The whole point of a curriculum vitae is to give a potential future employer all the evidence they need that you are a suitable individual for the job they’re recruiting for. But more than just a list of your career achievements and academic prowess, a CV should represent you and all that you’ve done in the best possible light – making you irresistible as a candidate.
If, therefore, a spelling mistake is hiding somewhere on this beautiful, finely tuned representation of you… well, it’s a bit like turning up for an interview in a crumpled shirt or forgetting your interviewer’s name! Not only does it suggest that you can’t spell (which is actually the most forgivable of misdemeanours in the grand scheme of things), it also hints that you either don’t know how to proof a document properly, or that you simply don’t care enough to do so!
According to new research from jobs search engine Adzuna, one in three curriculum vitaes contains a spelling mistake. In a job market in which employers are often inundated with applications, a rule against typos must be a common way to cull the pile of prospective interviewees down to size.
So which words are the biggest culprits? Which pesky nouns, verbs and adjectives best combine difficulty of spelling with likelihood of appearing on a CV? Here are the top ten main offenders, in reverse order.
Number 10 – SUCCESSFUL
Oh the irony! Just imagine our fresh-faced applicants keenly writing up their various accolades, only to fall foul of the double-c double-s trap as they’re describing their greatest achievements! Just remember folks, it’s double or quits when it comes to writing a successful CV!
Number 9 – ENVIRONMENT
Who put that ‘n’ in there?! Come on, own up! Whether you’re spelling out your years of experience in a professional environment, or letting your potential future employer know how much you love trees, the spelling doesn’t change. Here’s a quick tip: always check how much ‘iron’ you’re putting into that otherwise well-protected ‘environment’.
Number 8 – MANAGEMENT
Perhaps one of the most unavoidably useful words for CVs of all shapes and sizes, ‘management’ is most often misspelled by the omission of that first silent ‘e’. It’s a particularly confusing word because it follows an inconsistent spelling rule. For example, we quite happily drop the ‘e’ in ‘argument’ (and, depending on where you happen to live in the world, ‘judgment’) but heaven forbid we apply the same rule to ‘management’.
Number 7 – ACHIEVEMENT
I’ll be honest, I misspelled this word several times while composing this article. Everyone knows the rhyme that goes “I before E except after C”, right? Well if the word ‘achievement’ doesn’t have the letter ‘C’ before we get to its ‘I’ and and its ‘E’ then I need more help than I’ll find in a dictionary! Of course, the thing to remember (which unfortunately doesn’t fit in this handy little rhyme), is that the ‘C’ only counts if it’s directly before the ‘I’ and the ‘E’. Anyway, moving swiftly on…
Number 6 – COMMUNICATION
Another gentle irony here… I’m not sure what the most common misspelling is for this popular skill, but I suspect it occurs either around the double ‘M’ or perhaps in the muddle of vowels at the end of the word. Either way, communication is a vital skill for even the most verbally challenged of jobseekers, so best learn how to make sure people understand what you’re on about when you write it down.
Number 5 – Speciality
Another very vowelly word – but take it slow and you should be able to make your way through without any slip ups. That is, unless you’re from a part of the world that spells it ‘specialty’, in which case… good luck to you.
Number 4 – Experience
Whether you’re describing your years as head of the school debating team, or sharing stories from your Gap Year Experience, some find it incredibly tempting to put an ‘ance’ instead of an ‘ence’ at the end. Try remembering this little phrase: ‘science was quite the experience’.
Number 3 – University
You mean you went there and you still don’t know how to spell it? No excuses on this one – just get it right.
Number 2 – Liaise
I can’t imagine a huge number of people using this word on their CV, so to make it this high up the list of most commonly misspelled words must mean that the majority of people who do happen to pride themselves on their liaison skills aren’t as confident when it comes to spelling it.
Number 1 – Responsibility
Don’t be fooled by the lack of silent letters, responsibility is a tricky word to get right – particularly if you’re writing on a screen (and who isn’t). A befuddling cluster of tall letters to mix up every which way looms at the end of the word, and let’s not forget to stumble over whether it’s an ‘able’, an ‘ible’ or possibly even an ‘eble’ before we get there!