Would your spelling cost you a job?

In this day and age there isn’t really any excuse for poor spelling or grammar. I’m no expert and no doubt will have made a few errors throughtout this piece, but can such errors on a CV and application form be the deciding factor between you being called in for an interview or being relegated to the rejects pile?

Social media, you would think spelling and grammatical rules didn’t exist has a patrol of self-appointed grammar / spelling police who are quick to point out the flaws and use it as ammunition to ridicule. I have a friend who has to restrain himself from correcting other people’s text messages, he himself refuses to send a message using text speak.

In terms of job hunting, recruiters and employers no longer make their decisions solely based on a CV. Social media has made its way into the world of recruiting with at least 80% of employers Googling potential applicants before inviting them for an interview. So then what are a few spelling mistakes on a CV if as a whole the person is more than capable of doing the job?

It’s about your personal brand and the image you portray to a potential employer. Having not yet met you all they have to form their opinions is your CV and what Google has returned in the search results. Having an error free CV is meant to show a level of professionalism and attention to detail, job seekers are constantly being warned to either tidy up their online profiles or hide the ones they don’t want outsiders to see so the image a future employer will see is a positive one. We may call it social media but since it’s become hijacked into everyday life there is very little that can be considered social, it’s all about image and portraying the type of person you want others to see.

If a recruiter sees a spelling error on a CV the majority of them will discard it and move on to the next applicant. Unfair, possibly depending on how many mistakes there are. Spelling and grammar are important and essential skills that some applicants lack. If these are not your strong points then find ways to improve them, take a course or have someone proof read your work. According to an article from TechRepublic one employer would not consider hiring someone with poor grammar skills going as far as enforcing a grammar test for all applicants, in all fairness this employer was iFixit.com, the world’s largest online repair manual.

I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labeling parts.

Regardless of the position good spelling and grammar are important, but in the rush to find the ‘perfect candidate’ for a job is it not possible that the ‘perfect candidate’ is actually the one who has a few flaws? Yet we spend so much time focusing on the specific flaws that we forget to look at the person and their capabilities. Flaws can be worked on and improved, finding someone with all the right skills, ideal personality and attitude for your company may not be so easy.


7 thoughts on “Would your spelling cost you a job?

  1. thank goodness I’m not applying for a new job these days – my spelling really would let me down

    I lived in Canada for a few years and picked up some USA/Canadian spelling habits

    Now, if I’m tired or not concentrating, I sometimes flip between UK and US/Canadian spelling of english words – something ‘nobbly’ on madhatters is always quick to criticise me for 😆


  2. It may not be fair, but it spelling/grammar is an indicator of education and attention to detail. When employers are that picky now, and you can easily google it in mere seconds? (right now I have a google tab open in my browser just for commenting on my morning blogs 😉 and not looking stupid)
    And I like to respond with a Shakespearean “Thou” to those who insist on calling me “U”!!


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