Your dinner. You’re dinner. One leaves you nourished the other leaves you dead.
We’re going to let you into a secret. When scanning your CV, your dream employer isn’t looking for credentials, qualifications, and experience. They are willing for a spelling mistake or grammatical error so that they can cast your CV aside and move onto the next candidate. It’s true. When faced with a pile of amazing applications, very little time and not much else to go on but a sheet of paper with a few words, every word counts and attention to detail is critical.
So, today on National Grammar Day, here are three of the most common and cringeworthy mistakes employers will be looking for in your CV (and don’t worry, we’ve all done it!)
Homophones – words that sound alike. And when used incorrectly, will most likely demote you to the ‘thank you for your application, however…’ pile. Just remember, ‘There’ is a place – it has the word ‘here’ in it. ‘Their’ belongs to them and has the word ‘heir’ in it – indicating possession. And ‘They’re’ has an apostrophe which means it’s two words – ‘they are’.
A toughie to get right, but hopefully this simple explanation will stay with you. Affect is to change, and effect is when changes have happened. Just remember, the A in ‘Affect’ is for ‘action’ and the E in ‘Effect’ is for the ‘end result’. Here’s an example ‘My lack of attention to detail is going to affect my job search. Thank goodness I read this article, the effect on my CV has been amazing!’
‘It’s’ should only ever be used as a shortened version of ‘it has’ or ‘it is’. ‘Its’ means belongs to and should be used in all other circumstances. If you’re still scratching your head, you’re not alone! English grammar is not easy. Just try replacing ‘It’s’ with ‘It has’ in a sentence and it will soon become clear which you should use. For example, ‘Public Practice Recruitment Ltd is known for its attention to detail’. Not, ‘Public Practice Recruitment Ltd is known for ‘it has’ attention to detail’.
A large-scale review of 20,000 CVs submitted online revealed that 9 out of 10 had misspelled words. The study also showed that women pay greater attention than men – with 8% of female CVs being ‘flawless’ compared to just 6% of men. Interestingly, Yorkshire had the most accurate CVs with a 13% error-free score, followed by job hunters in the North East, London and then Scotland.
Writing your CV is the easy bit, proofing it is the hard part. Before submitting your CV, check, check and check again – ideally over three different sittings, long after writing it and in a quiet place where you can read aloud. And once you’re 100% happy with it, ask a friend or colleague to proof it too! Time spent here will pay dividends.
Garry Howling of Public Practice Recruitment Ltd says “We know that perfect grammar isn’t a requirement for being a good accountant, but attention to detail absolutely is.”
Our team is committed to providing honest and impartial advice to support you in reaching your career goals. If you’re struggling to make it to interview stage and you’d like help with your CV, please get in touch.
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