The most common spelling mistakes in job references

Errors in the job reference

If you think that spelling mistakes in the job reference are rare, you are mistaken. The bar is set pretty low here. There are few testimonials that don’t contain at least one orthographic or grammatical error (at least among those we analyze).

A spelling mistake in the job reference is of course annoying for all parties involved. The company is cast in a bad light ("They can’t even write correctly at xyz.) Or you get the impression that someone has made a big mistake here, that they didn’t take the time ("The employee doesn’t deserve any respect/effort")?").

The employee is also sloppy

If the departing employee accepts the faulty certificate and attaches it to his application documents, then he too will be suspected of not being very careful with spelling. If he discovers one or more mistakes in the text, he must complain about the report to the personnel department and often gets stressed (because of the effort).


On the other hand, a spelling mistake is also always a good reason to address the boss again about the reference in general. Since he has to change the testimonial anyway because of the error, you might be able to discuss a phrase or two with him. In this case, however, you should have dealt extensively with the reference beforehand and be able to address all the sticking points. No boss will be amused if he has to change a document more than twice.

1. Misspelling in the reference: You/your

A typical careless mistake that occurs time and again in references from female employees is the use of the form of address "you" and "your" instead of "she" and "her":

  • Mrs. Wagner’s personal conduct is very exemplary at all times. In dealing with superiors, colleagues and employees, she always knows how to create a trusting and open atmosphere.
  • Since the beginning of her employment at our company, Ms. Meier has shown that she is able to familiarize herself very quickly with new areas of responsibility due to her extremely quick comprehension skills as well as her very good analytical and conceptual thinking and judgment skills.

2. Spelling mistake in the reference : self-employed or self-employed?

Mrs. Muller always completed her tasks very independent, careful and reliable.

Have you found the spelling mistake? We bet, yes. After all, the biggest changes of the last spelling reform have been implemented in the meantime. One of them is the double "ST" in the word self-employed – because yes, self and constantly. Yes, many people may now remark, but you can still write "independently". This is probably correct, insofar it is not a "real" spelling mistake – we agree with you there! However, the spelling "independent" is to be preferred. It corresponds to the recommendation of Duden and Wahrig.


Why is the spelling "self-employed" found in so many current job references?? Here we can only make a guess: because one of the big reference generators uses this spelling. From this, one can also conclude that the reference was created using a software program.

3. Spelling mistake in Job reference : got to know or became acquainted with?

  • We have found Mr. Muller to be a very persistent and resilient employee get to know.
  • We have found Mr. Muller to be a very persistent and resilient employee learned to know.

Together or separately – that is the big question here. And that is not so easy to answer. Because: According to the recommendations of the Council for German Orthography, "get to know/get to know" can be written both separately and together , see § 34 (4). The Duden (27. Edition) recommends by the way the writing together.

And how can we support you?

Have you also found a spelling mistake in your reference?? And now you doubt whether the rest of the testimony is as good as it sounds? With our comprehensive certificate check we examine all formal and content-related aspects. If you wish, we can also revise or create your job reference according to your specifications.

4. Missing hyphens

Network administrator or network administrator ?

In many industries, job titles or terms have now become established that are made up of different languages and (technical) terminology. Accordingly, the writing is also versatile. In one company work online marketing manager, in others online marketing manager or online marketing manager.

The LAG Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has therefore in a judgement from 02.04.2019 (Az.: 2 Sa 187/18) decided: In view of the versatile spelling, a missing hyphen is forgivable for such occupational titles and technical terms. The judges saw no evidence that the employer thereby wanted to give a negative indication. Such spelling mistakes are not serious.

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