Most hiring managers spend a few seconds scanning each of the thousands of CVs they receive for a job opening, and don’t read any of them in detail. This might seem like an excuse to be careless with your CV’s grammar and spelling, but the opposite is true. Say your CV does get chosen for a closer look. You won’t get an interview if it’s riddled with mistakes or grammar errors. And to some hiring managers, mistakes jump out like a sore thumb even during a quick scan of a CV. Be sure to avoid these common grammar mistakes when creating your CV.
1. Homophone mistakes
All too common, you get in a hurry to finish and submit your CV that you don’t notice you’ve mixed up “their” and “there.” Or “two,” “to,” and “too,” or “you’re” and “your.” These homophonesor words that sound alike but mean different things and are spelled differentlyare so commonly confused that even diligent professionals mix them up in their CVs. Take the time to fully proofread your CV to make sure it makes sense before sending it along. And if you need to, sound out each homophone to make sure you’re using the correct one.
2. Run-On Sentences
Some people tend to think that bullet lists entitle them to simply add lists of tasks, duties, and responsibilities separated by commas. But if you’re writing your CV in full sentences, you need to remember that it has to sound coherent. Don’t let your list of accomplishments and your employment history get away from you. Split your run-on sentences up into coherent smaller sentences that make more sense.
3. Using Apostrophes in Plural Words
If your CV highlights how you’ve “created the company website and performed IT’S maintenance,” that errant apostrophe will jump out at the hiring managerand not in a good way. The difference between a plural and possessive or contraction is simple: if you want to add an apostrophe to a word like “its,” ask yourself if it makes sense to read it as “it is.” If so, you’ve got a contraction, not a plural. Plural words don’t get apostrophes.
4. Random Capitalisation
This is a very common mistake that happens, presumably, when people mean to put emphasis on a particular word: “enclosed is my CV for your consideration.” CV is not a name or titleit doesn’t need to be capitalised.
5. Changing Tenses
This happens a lot in CVs, because people tend to focus more on the action part of the word than the tenses. In your past experience, you need to choose whether to write it in past tense or the more neutral present tensebut not both.
Keep tenses consistent throughout the CV. If you’re writing in the past tense, it’s less egregious to write your current job duties in the present tense, but overall it’s better to keep it consistent. Whilst this may escape an initial scan of your CV, further scrutiny will show a lack of attention to detail.
Job hunting is a tricky business, because you never know what one person is going to love. But everyone respects a well-written, consistently-formatted, error-free CV. The last thing you do before you forward your CV to a hiring manager is perform an extensive re-read to make sure you don’t have errors. And if possible, have someone else double-check it to make sure it’s squeaky clean. Try using LiveCareer’s CV Check to clean up any grammar mistakes or typos so you’ll know your CV is flawless before you send it on.