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Adzuna study: Every third CV contains a spelling mistake

CV folder in file

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Here at Adzuna Towers, we know a thing or two about job ads and CVs. We also like data. A lot. So, we got our thinking caps on to debate the humble CV, and specifically, what can go wrong. This is our conclusion:Spelling-Errors-589x279

We just concluded a study of over 3,000 UK CVs and we found that almost one third of CVs in the UK contain at least one spelling mistake.

Of those containing errors, 54% contained just one misspelt word, 46% featuring two or more misnomers. The highest number of spelling errors in a British CV was a whopping 23 mistakes, with ‘responsibility’ being named the most common misspelling. Jobseekers in the West Midlands were the most likely make mistakes in their CV, the study found.

Conducted in March, the research analysed 3,000 CVs across the UK to highlight the most common errors made in job applications. Each CV was parsed using semantic text-mining technology to extract full work history, years of experience, contact details, and key skills. Location and keyword analysis highlighted trends in regional applications, and common skills promoted by candidates.

The three most common spelling mistakes in the study included “responsibility”, “liaise” and “university”. “Communication”, “experience” and “management” also featured in the top ten.

Although spelling errors were the most common mistakes made in job applications, the research also highlighted 30% of CVs contained a gap in employment history, a notorious bugbear for recruiting managers. Lack of a personal summary, omission of a valid address and concerns over CV length rounded out the top five most common issues found in the study.

Comparatively few made mistakes regarding email addresses or inappropriate file names, highlighting our nation’s digital development. Applicants in today’s internet age are three times more likely to omit or make an error in their postal address than in an email address or mobile number. Just 135 of the CVs analysed fell victim to inappropriate file names, the lowest level of any type of error.

 Understanding the language of CVs

A further analysis of the common language used in job applications via ValueMyCV revealed the most common traits emphasised by applicants included motivation, communication skills and technological know-how. Candidates were far less likely to boast of analytical abilities, creative talent or negotiation know-how.

Local lapses

A study of the geographic distribution of the country’s most error-ridden CVs showed candidates in the West Midlands and North West to be the worst offenders, with Yorkshire residents coming in at third place. Famously busy Londoners and applicants in the North East of the nation completed the top five.

Table 1: Top 10 most common CV errors in the UK

Ranking Common CV Mistakes
1 Misspelt words
2 Gaps in employment history
3 Lack of personal summary
4 Missing or invalid postal address
5 CV too long or too short
6 Invalid or omitted phone number
7 Invalid or omitted email address
8 Inappropriate file name
9 Missing spaces in CV text
10 Use of American spellings

Table 2: The most misspelt words in British CVs

Ranking Most Commonly Misspelt Words
1 Responsibility
2 Liaise
3 University
4 Experience
5 Speciality
6 Communication
7 Achievement
8 Management
9 Environment
10 Successful

Table 3: Top 5 regions for job application mistakes

Ranking Region with most CV errors
1 West Midlands
2 North West
3 Yorkshire & The Humber
4 London
5 North East

These mistakes may seem insignificant, but they can be the difference between on the shortlist or in the bin. So, next time, before you email a CV over for your dream job, remember to check for those typos. We at Adzuna wish you best of luck.