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Spelling - is it that important, YES it is! - License Vs Licence. What's the difference?

License Vs Licence?

Are you qualified to license a pub, a member of the clergy to take up a religious office or, indeed, a taxi?  Reading numerous CVs these days, you could easily be fooled into thinking that the vast majority of applicants are!

Maybe, if you passed your driving test in the United States, your document  would indeed be spelt License but not in the United Kingdom, where a quick look at your pink plastic card will show your document is titled Driving Licence.

Now this might already be sounding like the rant of a greying frustrated Radio 4 listener and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong! The only problem is that many sales directors, HR directors and hiring managers also listen to Radio 4 (!) and, actually, see attention to UK spelling in the CVs they read as an indication of the ability of an individual to write professional communications and generally articulate themselves effectively.

The roots of spelling confusion with words like “licence” (and similar words like “practice”) starts mainly because they sound the same with the ‘c’ or the ‘s’. However, with “advice” and “advise”, there is a shift in sound, so there is no confusion at all. Another way of knowing which to use is to replace the  “practice” or “licence” word you want with “advice” or “advise” – this will tell you whether you need the “c” or the “s” spelling. 

However, the big bad wolf in the midst of all this is our complete reliance on products like Microsoft Word to write our CV. In our rush to download the programme from a disk or the internet, we probably give the instructions a whole 15 seconds attention and completely fail to spot the usual default of American English on the online spell check. So “licence” appears on Word as an incorrect spelling as will “organise”, “recognise” and so on. We then “correct” these words into American English. One recently published article identified in excess of 1,000 words spelt differently. That’s a whole lot of banana skins to slip on if you are writing your CV!

So a few minutes invested in the set up of your software might lead to a brilliant outcome – maybe even a job. Take two CVs belonging to two identically good candidates at final interview. One Resume is very organized and the other CV is very organised. Who gets the position?....

Boring?  Maybe, important, Yes.  If your CV has spelling mistakes many employer's will not take you forward.

By the way, there's a spelling mistake in this article, can you find it? 


Thanks to David Greenwood, for this contribution.  David has worked at meta-morphose for over 20 years, his wife is a Head Teacher, so you can see where he gets this passion from. 







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