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Employment: Spelling errors in CV can torpedo job chances

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Spelling mistakes made in a CV (or resumé for US readers) can ruin a person’s chances of being considered for an interview, according to research carried out by Ghent university.

Those who make spelling mistakes are considered less careful, less thorough and less intelligent,” the researchers concluded.

July is a time when most recent graduates are considering their future, on the threshold of the change from academic studies to the ‘real world’. Look at the queues at copy-shops to see how many are making copies of their CV to send to every possible recipient in their field of expertise – from astronomy to zoology – and then every other just in case.

But it’s worth taking that document and going over it again with a fine tooth-comb, or better still a magnifying glass, to ensure it contains no signs of possible carelessness.

According to researchers from UGent@Work, KU Leuven and Odisee university college. A CV containing no spelling mistakes had a 65.6% chance of getting an interview, whereas one with two spelling errors saw the chance slipping down to 58.1%, and one with five or more mistakes going down to 46.6%.

In other words, spelling errors could make a 19 percentage point difference between getting an interview and ending not even on file, but in the Out box.

Spelling mistakes are easily made, but in your CV they can clearly stand in the way of a job interview, and therefore also access to your dream job,” said researcher Philippe Sterkens of UGent.

None of the other CV attributes we varied (gender, doubling a year, student work, sports activities, graduation rate, and self-rated language proficiency) had an effect of the same order as that of five CV spelling errors.”

The importance of spelling appears (to older observers, interest declared) to have diminished in recent years, with the arrival of digital communication and the continuous flood of new internet slang.

However, history teaches us that such has always been the case. Language change has never been so rapid, but it has always existed. Shakespeare, for example, has as many as 420 ‘new’ words attributed to him, including accommodation, anchovy, countless, fashionable and misquote.