9 common words too many people spell wrong on their résumé


Any hiring manager will tell you that when it comes to your résumé, proper spelling is critical to making a good impression.

The average job recruiter spend less than 10 seconds reviewing an individual résumé, and résumés with typos and spelling mistakes are often the first to land in the reject pile.

Business Insider spoke to two résumé coaches – Dana Leavy-Detrick of Brooklyn Resume Studio and Jared Redick of the San Francisco-based Résumé Studio – who shared the most common spelling mistakes they have encountered over the years.

“You wouldn’t want to show up to an interview with mismatched socks, or a crooked tie – and errors in the résumé are on the same level,” Leavy-Detrick told Business Insider. “They stand out as a flaw in your overall presentation, and lack professionalism.”

Here are nine common spelling mistakes you should delete from your résumé immediately:

‘Led’ vs. ‘lead’

Confusing “led” with “lead” is by far the most common spelling mistake people make on their résumés, said Jared Redick, a career coach and résumé writer with the San Francisco-based Resume Studio.

It’s easy to see where the confusion comes from. “Led” is the past tense of the verb “lead,” pronounced “leed.” But when used as a noun, “lead” – the stuff you find in batteries and ammunition – is pronounced identically to “led.”

Redick said he’s seen the mistake pop up in the résumés of top executives at Fortune 50 companies, proving no one is immune from bad spelling.

‘Manager’ vs. ‘manger’

Here’s one that spell-check won’t catch: Hastily typing “manger” instead of “manager.”

It’s a highly common mistake because of the frequency of the word on a typical résumé, Dana Leavy-Detrick, a résumé coach with Brooklyn Resume Studio, told Business Insider.

Of course, “manger” is a perfectly valid word to put on your résumé, so long as your job experience includes work at a horse stable.


Way too many people flub the spelling of “definitely” on their résumés, incorrectly spelling it “definately,” Redick told Business Insider.


For some reason, a lot of Leavy-Detrick’s clients have trouble getting their i’s and e’s straight, she told Business Insider. “Implement” is the proper spelling, not “impliment.”


Another common mistake résume-writers make is adding an extra e to judgment, spelling it “judgement,” Redick said.

While the spelling technically isn’t incorrect, the “judgement” is almost exclusively used in British English.

‘Identify’ vs. ‘identity’

Leavy-Detrick says she catches some job-hunters saying “identity” on their résumés when they mean “identify.”

Even a thorough review might not prevent this error from making it into a final draft – the shape of the letters f and t are so similar that it’s easy for our eyes to gloss right over them.

‘Affect’ vs. ‘effect’

How to distinguish “affect” from “effect” can be difficult even for highly educated English speakers, and the usage error pops up time and time again on résumés, Leavy-Detrick told Business Insider.

Simply put, “affect” is almost always used as a verb, as in, “The weather affected my plans.” Meanwhile, “effect” is generally used as a noun, as in, “The diet pills did not have an effect.”

Not surprisngly, the two words are among the most looked-up words in the dictionary.

‘Ensure’ vs. ‘insure’

Another pair of words people have trouble distinguishing between is “ensure” and “insure,” Leavy-Detrick said.

To “ensure” something is to make sure that something is the case.

To “insure” is to provide or obtain insurance.

‘Complement’ vs. ‘compliment’

Here’s another case of homophones doing us in. “Complement” and “compliment” are pronounced identically, but mean totally different things.

“Complement,” when used as a verb,” means to complete or enhance something by adding something else. A “compliment,” on the other hand, is a nice remark.

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