Candidates unconcerned with CV errors, are you?

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A ‘worrying’ amount of candidates are unconcerned with CV spelling and grammatical errors according to a report recently issued by Oxford Open Learning Trust.

The study which was conducted by OnePoll found that one in four candidates claim that they wouldn’t be embarrassed about a spelling mistake on their CV. Despite the fact that more than half (56%) would judge someone else based on their spelling, over a quarter of those asked said they (26%) wouldn’t feel at all embarrassed about making a mistake on a job application.

The study was based on information given by 2,000 adults when asked about their grammatical skills. Just a fifth of women said they wouldn’t feel ashamed of misspelling something on a job application form, compared to one in three men.

Dr Nick Smith, Founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust said: “To see that so many people wouldn’t be worried about making a spelling mistake on a job application or CV is cause for concern though,”

“In a setting where first impressions are so crucial, it’s important to understand the influence that spelling has in shaping perceptions.”

…Does it really matter?

Well, according to a study carried out by Adzuna of 40,000 Australian CVs submitted as part of real job applications, two-thirds of jobseekers are ruining their chances due to sloppy spelling. What’s more, they’re slipping up on some of the most commonly used words – words that recruiters could recite in their sleep – including address, business and university.

The research, which featured on news.com.au, found that 67% of the CVs submitted contained at least one spelling error and half (50%) had four or more.

HELPFUL TIPS: Need help improving your CV?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is an outline of a person’s educational and professional history, and conveys your personal details in a way that presents you in the best possible light. You are marketing yourself on a CV, so you need to sell your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to potential employers.

It is preferable to have a CV in the first phase of the application process so you can submit it for a job application and it needs to start out. What are employers looking for in a CV? Depending on the role, the top things we usually look for are:

  1. Previous related work experience
  2. Qualifications and skills
  3. It needs to be tasy to read with short and snappy sentences
  4. Spelling and grammar – spell check using Word, or a free online spell-check if you don’t have Microsoft package
  5. Education

We and like many other employers or recruiters receive a large influx of CVs a day, so it’s important that yours gets straight to the nitty gritty by stating your related experience, work history and other qualities that relate to the position or sector in which you’re making an application. Remember, this will probably be the only source of information we receive about you, along with a covering letter if this has been requested, so sell yourself.

Format

A CV should always be typed using a word processor and when uploading your CV online, always try to submit the original electronic document (Microsoft Word or PDF). Try not to go over two pages of A4 and put the most important information on the first page. Because of the limited space, this should allow you to keep things concise – but ensure you don’t make the layout cluttered and use sensible margin spacing. Bulleted paragraphs are a good way of saving space and adding impact to statements – they’re easy to read as well and you can also tailor these quickly yourself for specific job requirements.

Use titles so we or the employer can instantly see what each section is. Try not to be too flashy with the design – it’s vital all of the essential information is instantly visible.

What to put in your CV

  • Contact details – We keep CVs on file so ensure you put down contact details that will remain accurate in the long-term. A day time contact number is important, include your mobile number if you have one and also an email address.
  • Previous employment – Start with your most recent work experience at the top and go backwards, and include the start and leave dates for every position. Include concise details of what the job entailed, what your responsibilities were and what you achieved in the role. If you have time gaps between employment, just be honest and explain what you were doing in that time.
  • Qualifications – Dependant on the position in which you’ve applied, it’s not always necessary to list all of your GCSEs separately with grades etc, instead you could write ’6 GCSEs with A-C including Maths and English’. List the schools or colleges in which any qualifications were earned, again in order of most recent to oldest.
  • References – If you are able to secure references from a previous employer, ‘references available on request’ is sufficient for this section as we are able to follow these up with you if we progress to the next stage of the process.

Things not to include

You don’t need to title the CV, Curriculum Vitae or CV, as this is already obviously so don’t waste the space. Don’t include anything more than a line or two about your interests and hobbies if you want to add this, unless you know that it will be especially relevant. If you are short of space this should be the first information to be taken out entirely. Try not to repeat any information and do’t include irrelevant or negative information – we want you to sell yourself so it needs to start positive and continue like this the whole way through.

Finally… Check your spelling!

It’s really important that you checking the spelling throughout your CV before submitting to a potential employer. You can do this by carrying out a spell check using Microsoft Word. If you do not have access to Word, there is also a free online spell checker that will highlight words that are spelt incorrectly.

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