Study Reveals the Most Overused and Misspelled Words on CVs in 2022

Language skills are vitally important to any resume and can often be the difference between getting hired and your paperwork falling to the bottom of the pile.

In a mission to help job hunters improve the language used on their resumes, Preply has analysed Indeed’s CV database to reveal the most frequently used words featured in resumes in the last six months in the UK.

To do this, the online language learning platform created a seed list of over 150 English words and phrases commonly used by job hunters in their applications. Each word from the list was searched on Indeed’s CV finder to discover the number of resumes updated or submitted in 2022 where they had been featured.

Alongside this, Preply also analysed Google search volumes to investigate which of the 150 words job hunters have the most difficult spelling to help raise awareness of common mistakes to avoid.

According to Preply’s research, ‘skilled’ is the most commonly used word on CVs in the last six months, featured on 2.18 million resumes.

  • ‘Responsible’ and ‘trained’ follow in second and third place on the list, being included in 1.30 million and 1.28 million CVs, respectively, in the last six months.
  • Job hunters are also keen to show their personable side, with references to ‘social’ and ‘friendly’ traits on 617 thousand and 446 thousand CVs, respectively.
  • Despite not ranking among the top 20, over 73 thousand candidates have included the description of ‘fun’, and over 20 thousand job hunters have stated having a ‘good sense of humour’ on their CV in the last six months.
  • ‘Experienced’ was the word causing the most problems for job seekers writing their CVs in English, with over 2.4 thousand people searching for the correct spelling on Google each month.
  • ‘Successful, ‘counselled’, and ‘succeeded’ also proved difficult for candidates due to their repeated letters, with over one thousand searches for the terms each month.
  • Words with American to English variations such as ‘behaviour’ and ‘judgement’  also proved confusing for candidates as both received over 1.3 thousand searches each month from people looking for spelling help.
  • Outside of the top ten, ‘curriculum vitae’ also proved difficult for candidates, with over 600 searches each month.

Expert shares six top tips for improving the language on your CV

Yolanda del Peso, a marketing specialist at Preply, shares her top tips on improving the language used on your CV to make your application stand out.

Start your sentences with action verbs 

Front-load your sentences, so the most important piece of information is at the start and is introduced using a dynamic verb. For example, ‘answered customer complaints’ might become ‘managed customer complaints’.

Omit personal pronouns

Avoid using ‘I’ and ‘we’ to make your resume sound more scientific and factual. For example, ‘I lectured every week to a cohort’ might become ‘Lectured weekly to a 30-strong student cohort’.

Use the language of the job description

Adapt your resume for every job role and incorporate specific words and phrases from the job advertisement you are applying for the best chance of success.

Give specific evidence of your skills and achievements 

Give clear, specific, and relevant evidence to support your claims. Where possible, try to quantify achievements. For example, change ‘Developed a large Twitter presence’ to ‘Grew Twitter account by 3k followers in Q2’.

Avoid unnecessary adjectives

Keep it simple, and try not to use unnecessary adjectives or adverbs. For example, ‘skillfully negotiated contracts’ would become ‘negotiated contracts’.

Thoroughly check for spelling and grammar errors

Formatting and grammatical errors can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you check your resume at least twice, and if possible, ask someone else to review it before you submit it.