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spelling errors in resumes/CVs

Jeanne Boyarsky
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A Bhattacharya wrote:I Heck, I have seen documents in big companies shared across inter-country teams that have lots of spelling and grammar mistakes, and nobody's productivity was lessened.

This quote comes from another thread and reminds me of a discussion I've been meaning to start:

What do you think of resumes/cvs that contain spelling/grammar errors? We've been interviewing a lot of contractors/consultants lately so I've been looking at a lot of resume/cv. I'm astounded by how many of them have errors. This has always been a problem, but I've looked at more resumes in a short time over the last few months so it bothers me more.

Some discussion points:
1) Do you think it is appropriate to have errors in a resume/cv? Why or why not?
2) Does it matter if it is a resume/cv? Does the cv being longer make a difference?
3) Does this vary by region/country? In particular, is it appropriate in India to have spelling errors in the CV. All of the instances I've seen of errors in the resume/cv have come from people who went to school in India. (I've also seen many correct resumes/cvs from people who went to school in India.) This gets me wondering if it is socially acceptable there or if it is just a coincidence.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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And my answer:

Absolutely not. It shows carelessness and lack of attention to detail. I see words spelled wrong, technology names spelled wrong and in one case, a customer's name spelled wrong. And for the excuse of not knowing English well: I'd like to think that anyone interviewing for a job in the US at least knows someone he/she can ask to proofread a resume/cv.
Andrew Monkhouse
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  59

I cannot see how anyone can justify sending out a document with basic spelling mistakes. As I sit here typing this response, I know that Firefox is validating each word I type. And if I make a spelling mistake, Firefox will highlight it for me. If I were sending a document to a client or a potential employer, I would be writing it in Microsoft Word or Open Office - both of which have spelling checkers.

I am a little more lenient in accepting documents with basic grammar errors in general conversations. The more important the document, the less lenient I become. Once again, I know that there are free word processors with excellent grammar checkers - most of them allow you to specify not only the language, but also any regionalisms. For example, Open Office not only allows me to choose English, but it allows me to choose between the dialects used in Australia, America ... Zimbabwe.

When talking about technologies used, and companies worked out, I have very low tolerance for sloppy spelling. If you cannot even spell the name of the company you worked out, how can I believe you worked there? Likewise, if you cannot spell the name of the technology you used, I find it hard to believe you opened a book on the subject (or even searched for it online).

In addition, both your CV and your Resume are meant to showcase your skills. If you are sloppy with a 2 page document, then I suspect you will be sloppy in your day-to-day work. As a side note, I feel the same way about movie trailers (especially trailers for comedies): they are meant to showcase the movie. If I look at a 5 minute trailer, and only laughed for 30 seconds, I am inclined to believe that they have already shown me what they think is the funniest portions and I am therefore unlikely to find the overall movie funny.

I think the worst problem I have seen is when a candidate uses SMS/texting/leet speak in a document. If that happens, I will conclude that there will be a barrier to communication, and not consider the candidate.


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Bear Bibeault
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  65

Immediate relegation to the circular file.

Programming is all about accuracy and attention to detail. If that level of care can't be take with an important document such as a resume, I don't even want to think about this person's code.


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Pushkar Choudhary
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:is it appropriate in India to have spelling errors in the CV. All of the instances I've seen of errors in the resume/cv have come from people who went to school in India. (I've also seen many correct resumes/cvs from people who went to school in India.) This gets me wondering if it is socially acceptable there or if it is just a coincidence.

Definitely not acceptable here in India too. Like you said, it does show carelessness and lack of attention to detail.

Having said that, I've seen a lot of resumes/cvs and even technical documents with spelling errors. And I'm not sure a spell-checker can always help. If the person does not understand English properly, there could be errors even after using the spell-checker.
For example, I've seen so many people spell "career" as "carrier". In fact, I've also heard people pronounce it as "carrier" instead of "career". A spell-checker would not help you here as both "career" and "carrier" are valid words in English. I've also seen people make mistakes with "there" and "their". Again, a spell-checker would be of not much use here.

I'm not trying to defend anyone since these kind of errors are simply not acceptable, but I guess it could be because English for most people in India is 2nd or 3rd language in schools. It is also not the preferred common language of communication (especially verbal and outside the IT/Software world), since Hindi takes precedence over English there.

To summarize, I think the reason could be a bit more than carelessness for some people, since they might not be very fluent in English. Of course, this can never be a reason/excuse to make mistakes specially when you're applying for jobs in the US.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Pushkar Choudhary wrote: If the person does not understand English properly, there could be errors even after using the spell-checker. .... To summarize, I think the reason could be a bit more than carelessness for some people, since they might not be very fluent in English. Of course, this can never be a reason/excuse to make mistakes specially when you're applying for jobs in the US.

But what about things that aren't English words? Granted a spell checker is useless, but this is somewhat different. Some are obviously wrong like "Javva". Others I'm not so sure. I've seen "Strut" instead of "Struts" enough times in this forum that I wonder whether the spelling varies.

That said, I work in the US. I am interviewing for jobs in the US. Where we speak and write in English. If there are errors in the resume, how am I supposed to believe this won't be an issue on the job?
Maneesh Godbole
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Jeanne wrote:I've seen "Strut" instead of "Struts" enough times in this forum....

Ha! But does it have a Ranch FAQ entry like Swing does

I find spelling mistakes a sign of slackness and a big no no for me. Like it or not, almost all the programming languages are English "based". If you want to be a good programmer, you have to know good English.


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Campbell Ritchie
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  16
Maneesh Godbole wrote: . . . If you want to be a good programmer, you have to know good English.
I would think, more likely, good English spelling than a good command of the language.

Which makes the problem about spelling errors more acute. I see people on this website writing Int, so I am not sure whether that means int or Integer or integer. All three are different, and different from the original spelling.
Maneesh Godbole
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:
Maneesh Godbole wrote: . . . If you want to be a good programmer, you have to know good English.
I would think, more likely, good English spelling than a good command of the language.


I don't know. I have always thought spelling was part of the language. And it is not just documentation you know. If I am working with a team mate, whom I have never met except on the phone, I would really like to make sure I convey my ideas correctly in a verbal mode too. On this background I feel a good command over the language takes one a long way.
Campbell Ritchie
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  16
Yes, you are probably right, Maneesh.
Satish Kumar
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This post reminds me of an email from one of one of ex-manager where hibernate is mispelled as "hybernate". lol

spelling mistakes in an important document like resume is certainly not acceptable as it shows the attitude of carelessness.
But lets think of a person in managerial role who replies to around fifty to hundred of emails in a day as a part of his day to day activities...spelling/typing mistakes creep in such situation where people do not have time to check the content...

In fact i could recollect some situations where i have replied as "can be done" where i intended to reply as "cannot be done" due to hastiness and used to send the correct sentence highlighted when i notice the error.
ankur rathi
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Shouldn't cvs in subject of this thread be CVs?

Campbell Ritchie
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ankur rathi wrote:Shouldn't cvs in subject of this thread be CVs?

Changed.
Lester Burnham
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Extra points for anyone who works at CVS and uses CVS to keep track of CVs.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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ankur rathi wrote:Shouldn't cvs in subject of this thread be CVs?

And I learned something - that it matters. My excuse is that I am American and we supposedly don't use CVs. We request resumes and get sent both resumes and CVs.
Andrew Monkhouse
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  59

Pushkar Choudhary wrote:I've also seen people make mistakes with "there" and "their". Again, a spell-checker would be of not much use here.

A spell checker won't pick that up, but a grammar checker will:



See the green squiggly line under "their" - that tells me that the grammar checker realized that the word did not fit in context, and so it is warning me about it. Right clicking on it (or choosing to run the grammar checker explicitly) tells me that the better option would be "there".
David Newton
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No spelling errors, proper camel case for technology names, line up things that are supposed to be in a line, no random double-spaces between words.

Attention to detail matters. I'm dumbfounded by the number of crappy-looking resumes I'm seeing, and that's *after* screening by the HR department (which... I wish I *didn't* have to deal with). If they can't take the time to produce something attractive, let alone their actual ability in the job, what's their code going to look like? Their documentation? The information they send to other non-development stakeholders?
Andrew Monkhouse
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  59

David Newton wrote:If they can't take the time to produce something attractive

I am not as concerned about attractiveness anymore, having dealt with far too many job placement companies that insist that the candidates provide resumes in a format that they the placement agency then mangles before forwarding to the prospective company.

The last few times I went to a company where I had been referred by an agency, I took multiple copies of my resume with me - properly formatted and with my name on every page (it amazes me that people don't do that). I have more than one case where the company has been surprised that my hand delivered resume contained relevant information that the referrer chose to leave off. And I had one case where the prospective employer had been given totally wrong information about me.
David Newton
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Good point, although we don't deal with outside agencies--what we see is what they have.
Maneesh Godbole
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Andrew Monkhouse wrote:..more than one case where the company has been surprised that my hand delivered resume contained relevant information that the referrer chose to leave off. And I had one case where the prospective employer had been given totally wrong information about me.


Huh? How is this possible? Is this even legal?
Andrew Monkhouse
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I suppose there is a case for misrepresentation, however I doubt it would go far in court: they would just claim that there is no benefit to them in getting a resume incorrect, and they would blame the computer system / bad transcription / the person who left last week.
David Newton
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Some recruiters are pretty shady.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I was hoping someone would say that spelling doesn't matter to understand the opposing point of view. Nobody?
David Newton
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No, because it matters. I mean, come on--we have spell checkers now. We don't even need to look stuff up any more. A resume should ShowSomeEffort, just like a post.
Jan de Boer
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I speak about 4 or 5 foreign languages besides my native tongue Dutch. (How many is depending on how you define speak: English fluent, But in Korean, I can only order a beer for you.) But let me first state that I think English has the most inconsistent and ridicule spelling rules of all languages I have studied. So if your native tongue is not English, and you make some errors in an English CV, it's okay by me.

Of course it's sloppy. If it's too sloppy though, I will think you are either disinterested in the job, or that you are dyslectic or something. Then personally I just hate working with dyslectic coworkers. Sorry dyslectic members.. But I worked with a guy who for being dyslectic excused himself of ever writing any documentation whatsoever. Instead, to compensate, he would repeatedly explain his coding in speech. And he did this so much, I, many times, thought in myself: man please, please shut up and let others work now. Actually I made an arrangement with my daughter. If he would start his monologues again, I would send her a text message, and five minutes later she would call me with an invented 'domestic problem', so I was excused.
Jan de Boer
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I was hoping someone would say that spelling doesn't matter to understand the opposing point of view. Nobody?


Okay, if you want to argue. :-)

I state that English spelling rules are that ridiculous, I think at least a few errors can be ignored.
Jan de Boer
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Pushkar Choudhary wrote:I've also seen people make mistakes with "there" and "their".


Is there any difference in pronunciation of those words? No! I think this example mainly shows how ridiculous English spelling is. There are many more examples of course. Take a look at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_dc65V7DV8

Luke Kolin
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Jan de Boer wrote:I state that English spelling rules are that ridiculous, I think at least a few errors can be ignored.


I think if you're claiming "fluency" in a language, you should not have any errors in common words. Especially since machines can identify potential spelling or grammatical issues.

I look at it this way - I find the notion of nouns having a specific gender somewhat ridiculous. However, if I was claiming fluency in French I would certainly ensure that I applied the proper gender in my French resume (if I had one).

Cheers!

Luke
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Luke,
I'd also ask someone who wrote better French to proofread for me.
Jan de Boer
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Well, if you take French for example, it's unlikely that a software engineer would have to write documents in French. (Not being a native speaker I mean.) You should be fluent in talking French and discussing programming issues. And since somebody else can proofread your CV, and correct the errors, I would not take too much notice on errors in gender. If I would need an engineer who could speak French, I would rather call him up, and ask him a few questions in French. If he answers in understandable French, it's candidate for me.

Oh yeah, I can also perfectly understand, and forgive, that people write 'career' as 'carrier'. In many languages 'i' and 'ie' is pronounced as the English 'ee'. (At least Spanish, Dutch and German.) So I do not think it's such a dumb mistake at all.

I also do not understand why I have commented on this thread since it is 3 years old? How did it came 'up front in the list'? I cannot remember what I did actually..
Matthew Brown
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Jan de Boer wrote:I also do not understand why I have commented on this thread since it is 3 years old? How did it came 'up front in the list'? I cannot remember what I did actually..

It was woken up by a spammer.
Stuart A. Burkett
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Jan de Boer wrote:or that you are dyslectic or something

Nice use of irony there.
Monica. Shiralkar
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If the candidate is having his day, he will get job even with spelling errors in resume.On the other hand if it is not his daY he will not get even with no spelling error in resume.But still one should be careful because it is not a good thing to do such mistakes

Saif Asif
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Spelling mistakes on such important documents just reflects your seriousness on the subject. I too have come across multiple documents , many of them formal memos having simple grammatical mistakes like writing "their" instead of "there" or "your" instead of "you're".

CV/resume is an important piece of document. It is the first image that the recruiter/employer will have of you when he/she is going through that document and if I would be in that recruiter's position , the first thing that's gonna come in my mind is that "hey this guy is so careless about writing even his own CV and he didn't even bother to proof-read his document before submitting it so how can I expect seriousness from his work'.

Attention to detail matters, specially in documents .


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Dieter Quickfend
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I must also agree with most people on this thread, who think proper spelling is important. My native tongue is also Dutch, but this is not an excuse to neglect your English. As a programmer, almost all your communication and documentation will happen in English. Lapses of communication are potentially dangerous and a proper understanding of the English language will enable you to better wrap your head around certain intricate details of long analyses.

Perhaps I would've thought differently a while ago, but my current client is a company where the analysts are French-speaking and their command of the English language is poor. I have no technical analysis and the functional analysis is in French. I consider my command of the French language decent if not perfect, but reading this document is pure torture for me.

The added complexity related to reading documents in a foreign language is a hindrance, the added reluctance to communicate in a foreign language is a hindrance, and while there are other, perhaps even more important criteria, I think this is important enough to merit serious doubts about whether a person can handle a certain job, especially if it is permanent.

Will a French-speaking person tackle this project better than I would? Not necessarily, it depends on his/her level of skill. But would it be easier for me to do my job if French was my native tongue? Certainly.

Still, that having been said, if you are to write a resume in French (which I have done many times), you make sure it doesn't contain any errors, and while the vocabulary might be little better than a cursory read of '50 Shades of Grey' if you're writing in a foreign tongue, at least spelling should be up to par.


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Rohit Kumar Singh
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:And my answer:

Absolutely not. It shows carelessness and lack of attention to detail. I see words spelled wrong, technology names spelled wrong and in one case, a customer's name spelled wrong. And for the excuse of not knowing English well: I'd like to think that anyone interviewing for a job in the US at least knows someone he/she can ask to proofread a resume/cv.


I absolutely agree with your point mam...

My point's are:-
> C.V is the first impression you are giving to your employer about yourself, if it contains spelling mistakes and grammatical error's, that means you are not well concerned about yourself(Simply you are Careless)
> If you cant read 2-3 pages of your C.V and maintain it , how your employer will rely on you that you will handle bulk of codes.
> And last but not the least, If you don't know the name of Technology or Company (Spelling mistake), how can one think that you Actually know that technology


Thanking You...

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Sumit Sonone
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It is highly unacceptable. If a technical person will make such kind of mistakes then we can judge how the person can make mistakes in there daily life. A Resume/CV is the impression of your personality on others. If this is not correct how a person can do job even in India. Such persons should not get job even if they have good knowledge of technical subjects.

Thank You
 
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