Three people point at a laptop screen, they have spotted mistakes on a CV

The Top 5 Spelling and Grammar Mistakes on CVs

Hannah Mason

The Top 5 Spelling and Grammar Mistakes on CVs

Hannah Mason • Sep 04, 2023

As a Professional CV Writer and former Recruiter, I have reviewed potentially tens of thousands of CVs, and there are five mistakes that seem to come up time and again.

These were by no means that only mistakes that I came across as a recruitment consultant, however they were some of the most common mistakes that I saw on CVs.

Not only that, these mistakes had the potential to let the candidate down.

Your CV is an indication of the calibre of professional that you are, and the kind of work that you are likely to produce for an organisation.

Small mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but what if the company is looking for someone who is detailed, or who would be required to produce a lot of written work?

Coming up

In this article, I’m going to reveal the 5 most common mistakes that I see on CVs so that you can make sure they’re not on your own CV!

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Why to mistakes on CVs matter?

If you’re a great fit for a role, and your CV makes this clear, a few small mistakes are unlikely to cost you the opportunity.

However, most job opportunities are very competitive and attract hundreds of applications. In these situations there are likely to be plenty of qualified candidates, and this is when mistakes can harm your chances.

What do mistakes reveal to a recruiter or hiring manager?

Some mistakes simply demonstrate a lack of attention to detail and give a poor overall impression of a candidate and the work that they would produce.

A CV with lots of mistakes looks rushed and gives the impression that a candidate is not taking the application seriously.

And there are some mistakes which are so glaringly obvious that they instantly raise concerns and could result in a CV being rejected.

What’s more, the quality of a CV is a good indication of a candidate’s written communication skills and most jobs today require some, if not a high degree, of communication with others.

I know many companies that will ask their administrative support candidates to undergo a spelling and grammar test as part of the screening process.

If your CV is an indication that you would fail this test, then you may not ever make it past the initial application stage.

Keywords on your CV

Most CVs are now stored in databases and retrieved by keyword searches.

Therefore, if you are spelling a keyword on your CV incorrectly, it will not be being picked up at all.

This is a bigger deal than many people realise, and it's a very good reason to ensure that your CV is free from errors.

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What are the most common mistakes on CVs?

Number one: inconsistent use of full stops

I see this a lot. Some bullet points end in a full stop and others don’t. Either style is fine, but pick a style and stick to it.

Attention to detail is important and this is a good way to demonstrate it.

For example:

► This bullet point ends in a full stop.

► This one does not

► And now this one does.

Consistency is key!

Number two: writing ‘lead’ instead of ‘led’

‘Led’ is the past tense of ‘Lead’. If you’re writing in the past tense, please use ‘led’.

For example:

❌ Incorrect – I lead my team to achieve 120% of target last quarter.

✓ Correct – I led my team to achieve 120% of target last quarter.

This mistake is more common than you may think.

Number three: inconsistent use of tenses

Projects that you are currently working on can be written in present tense, but tasks or projects that have been completed should always be written in past tense.

I often see people getting muddled here and using a random mix of tenses.

For example:

► If it’s something you are still working on write; “project managing a multimillion-dollar construction project”.

► If it’s something that you are no longer working on write; “project managed a multimillion-dollar construction project”.

Number four: spelling ‘career’ like this: carrier

This is one which may well get your CV rejected.

It’s less common, but I’ve seen it enough times for it to make this list.

Your career is important, so make sure you use the correct spelling.

Remember, a regular spellcheck won’t pick this up, so make sure you do a thorough check and consider using Grammarly to help.

Let’s be clear:

✓ Career = Your work

❌ Carrier = A person or thing which carries other persons or things

Number four: wrong use of apostrophes in Master’s and Bachelor’s

If you want to include your great education on your CV, you need to make sure you type it correctly.

The 'S' is possessive and so you could say; ‘I obtained a Master’s degree from …’

But a ‘Masters of…’ or ‘Bachelors of…’ is incorrect.

‘Master’s of’ and ‘Bachelor’s of’ is also incorrect.

The correct format is:

► Bachelor of …

► Master of …

You studied hard for your degree, make sure you don’t let yourself down now!


Have a look at your CV now and make sure you haven’t made any of these common mistakes.

The good news is, they are very easy to correct, it won’t take you long and will only serve to strengthen your applications.

Also, check through and make sure that there are no other mistakes in your CV.

It can be helpful to ask someone else to do this for you. It can also be helpful to re-check after a few days, once the document is less familiar to you.

Discover how Grammarly can help you to keep your CV completely free of spelling and grammar mistakes

You can use Grammarly for free here.