1. Don’t rely too heavily on spellcheckers
A CV will show your potential employer what effect you can have on their business. But it shouldn’t show them what affect you can have on there business. These sentences will pass through the spellchecker without any problems, but one does not make any sense.
Another aspect to be aware of is the placement of homophones (words that sound the same, but are spelt differently). These could ruin a perfectly good CV, especially if the recruiter receives hundreds of CVs and needs a way to cut them down – spelling and grammar might be one of the factors. Checking these errors could be the difference between a grate knew job and a great new job.
2. Use capitalisation wisely
Capitalising Every Important Word in a Sentence isn’t the Way Forward. NEITHER IS USING BLOCK CAPITALS – THEY DON’T MAKE THINGS EASIER TO READ. For recruiters who value correct grammar, incorrect use of capital letters can be a reason for rejection.
Consistency is key. If you capitalise your job title, make sure you do it all the way through your CV – don’t deviate.
3. Correct use of apostrophes
Apostrophes are a great demonstration of your grip on grammar. Some people forget about them while others litter their CV with them, guessing where they should put them. If you don’t fully understand them, try giving your CV to a proofreader who does.
4. Use the singular for an organisation
If you are working for the Life Coach Directory, you are working for ‘it’, not ‘their team’ – remember to use the singular.
5. First person is key
You need to sell yourself when writing a CV. Use I, me and my – and don’t start using third person half way through! This can land your CV in the bin.
6. Past, present and future
You will most likely talk about your previous job in the past tense and your current job in the present tense. But sometimes you may have to use the past tense to talk about your current job if you completed a relevant project a number of years ago for example. Just make sure that you don’t switch tenses in a middle of a phrase – it can make your writing very hard to follow.
7. Abbreviations need an explanation
Some well-known abbreviations, such as GCSE or FIFA, don’t need explaining. But when you start explaining you work for the FCA, your employers may not know that it stands for the Financial Conduct Authority. Another quick tip – you don’t need to put full stops between abbreviations (FIFA not F.I.F.A.)
8. Avoid semicolons if you are unsure
Semicolons are used when a full stop is too much, but a comma isn’t enough. They are also used to separate items in lists. If you can use them correctly, go for it. But if not, you will be caught out.
A final thought by the Guardian’s production editor David Marsh: “You can lead a full and happy life without bothering with semicolons.”
If you need some extra motivation or guidance with a career change, a life coach may be able to help. Contact a life coach in your area to find out more.
Read and comment on the original Guardian article.