Tips On....

Common Errors

We want to get you CV word perfect, so we have compiled a list of common spelling and grammatical errors peculiar to different European language groups.

Common errors of Dutch native speakers

Below are some typical areas where a Dutch native speaker needs to take special care when writing their English CV.

Use of Capital Letters
In English, the days of the weeks, months and job titles always begin with a capital letter:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

When writing a number in English,  the place you enter commas and full stops are reversed, eg, twenty thousand dollars is written $20,000.00

One word or two?
Is it “skillbase” or “skill base”, “outside” or “out side”, “jobtitle” or “job title”? We have noticed a tendency for Dutch writers to run these words together. As a rule, most English words have a space between them, but there are some notable exceptions like “freelance” and “outlook”. Most computers now have inbuilt dictionaries, so always check.

Where to put the apostrophe
In English, an apostrophe is used to show ownership (as in my sister's job) or to indicate a missing letter (as in don't). It is never used to help pronounciation. The plural of hobby, for instance is hobbies (NOT hobby's) and pizza is pizzas (NOT pizza's). 

Education Qualifications
On English CVs, it is standard to write both the school attended as well as the qualifications gained. Few people outside of the Netherlands know what MAVO and HAVO mean, so if you applying for a job outside of the Netherlands, it’s critical you state both your Dutch school qualifications and its English equivalent. Here is an approximate guide: 
MAVO           O-Levels (completed at 16 years)
HAVO           A-Levels (completed at 18 years)
VWO             A-Levels (completed at 18 years)

LS (Lecti Salutum)
LS (Lecti Salutum) is NOT a term used in English to address an unknown reader. Instead use the salutation. “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir / Madam”.

Common errors of French native speakers

The English language shares over five thousand words with French, however spelling is not always identical. Here are some words to watch out for.

CORRECT                  WRONG
career                       carrier
negotiation                negociation
responsible               responsable
recommendation        recommandation
recruitment                recrutment

CORRECT                  WRONG
criteria                       criterias (criteria is the plural of criterion)
mission                      missions (as in mission statements)

Capital letters
Always use a capital letters when referring to a country or continent eg: European, French,

Where to put the Euro sign
The EU allowed each country to place the Euro sign where they wanted. In France, it comes after the number, whereas in English, the Euro sign comes before the number. So twenty-five million Euro is written €25m.

Common errors of Spanish native speakers

English words that sound similar to Spanish words but have a different meaning.
English Word                   Similar Sounding Spanish Word (and its actual English translation)
approve                              aprobar (pass)
actually                               actualmente (currently)
eventually                           mente (eventual)
realize                                 realisar
understanding                    comprehesión (understanding)
make / earn                         ganar (win)

Spanish words with two English meanings.
Spanish Word                  English choices
de                                        of / from
como                                    like / as
por                                       by / for

Common Spelling Errors
CORRECT                          WRONG
responsible                        responsable

Common errors of German native speakers

A number of German grammar rules do not apply in the English language. German job applicants need to be especially aware of these common errors in their written English:

Quotation Marks (Inverted Commas)
Quotation marks are used differently in German and English. German quote marks appear like so - ,,Quote” - whereas in English they appear either as "Quote" or Quote (in italics).

Confusion between “for” and “since”
For designates duration (Dauer) – how long you were employed by a company. Whereas since suggests a specific point in time (Zeitpunkt) – how long ago you began working for a company.
CORRECT: For three years……since 1997….
WRONG:    Since three years….

Not all plurals end with an “s”. Some common errors include:
SINGULAR                            CORRECT PLURAL                WRONG PLURAL
criterion                                 criteria                                   criterias
Some data                             a lot of data                           three datas
information                            much information                   two informations
training course                      training courses                    trainings

The word “headquarters” is always spelt with an "s" and not “headquarter”.

Latin abbreviations used in English
The Latin term “id est” means 'that is". It does NOT mean “for example”.
The term “for example” can be abbreviated to “eg”, which is Latin for “exempli gratia”

Do I use “by” or “until”?
Many Germans confuse the words by and until. Not surprising, as the difference in meaning is subtle.

By should be used if an event is to take place in a particular time period. For example:
I have to give my notice by the end of the quarter.
Please reply by the end of the week.

The word until should be used to indicate how much time is left. Until has a finality to it: there is a certain amount of time before the event but not after.
For example:
I have until the end of the quarter to hand in my resignation.
I have until the end of the week to reply.

Education Qualifications
Few people outside of Germany understand its education system, so its crucial you state both your German school qualifications and its English equivalent.
A-Levels are the English equivalent of Germany’s Gymnasium.

No details beyond the job titles
CVs written by Germans often tend to state only the job title and omit any details about responsibilities and achievements. When we have asked why this information has not been provided, the response tends to be "oh, but this is obvious". However, this is not obvious to recruiter and employers sifting through hundreds of applications. A job title may be generic, but the size of the role, level of responsibility, product range and individual achievements can fluctuate from company to company, person to person. So it’s important that these subtle differences are specified in your English CV.

Irrelevant Information
When applying for jobs outside of Germany, it is not necessary to list your parent's occupation or the primary school you attended.  

Differences between British and American English

In continental Europe, British English is more accepted than American English. This the reason why My English CV advises international job seekers write in British English. Below are some of the differences in spelling, you need to watch out for:

British                   American

-ence vs -ense
defence                          defense
licence                            license

-ge vs -g
ageing                            aging
judgement                       judgment

-l vs -ll
enrolment                       enrollment
fulfil                                fulfill
skilful                              skillful

-ll vs -l
equalling                        equaling
counselling                    counseling
modelling                       modeling
quarrelling                     quarreling
signalling                       signaling
travelling                        traveling

-oe or -ae vs -e
manoeuvre                     maneuver
mediaeval                       medieval
encylcopaedia                encylopedia  (although the American spelling is now accepted across the globe)-

-our vs -or
colour                            color
favourite                        favorite
honour                           honor

-ogue vs -og
analogue                        analog
catalogue                       catalog
dialogue                         dialog

-que vs -ck
cheque                           check
chequer                         checker

-re vs -er
centre                             center
metre                              meter
theatre                            theater

-se vs-ze
analyse                           analyze
criticise                           criticize
memorise                        memorize

-t vs -ed
Both versions below are used in British English, however only the American English version is used in North America.
dreamt                              dreamed
leapt                                 leaped
learnt                                learned

draught                          draft  
jewellery                       jewelry
plough                            plow
programme                    program 
pyjamas                          pajamas
tyre                                 tire


Handy Tip

Sit straight. Smile as often as you can. Maintain eye contact but don't stare. ...


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