5 ways to get your CV rejected and how to avoid them

5 ways to get your CV rejected and how to avoid them

The Curriculum Vitae is used by employers to vet and filter through the very best candidates for a job interview. This very important document has to be written to a high standard, and even a small mistake can cost the job seeker a chance at being hired for their dream position.

Here are 5 ways to get your CV rejected and how to avoid them.

1. No personal statement or cover letter

Every CV needs some kind of introduction; otherwise the entire application is a little stale and formal. You need to set the scene for the employer and let them know why you are applying and how much this job means to you.

A cover letter is a great way to do this and will help you to make a more personal connection to the hiring manager. By addressing your letter directly to the person that will be reading it, you are creating a friendly and professional introduction to your skills and qualifications.

All employers expect to see some kind of personal statement or profile right at the start of a CV. Even though the application will detail a candidate’s credentials, the employer likes to read a little blurb about each applicant so they can get a better understanding of what they have to offer.

Always write a personal statement and certainly consider attaching a cover letter. These extra touches can go a long way and put you ahead of your competition.

2. Having gaps in your employment history

There may have been a period in your career whereby you were out of work for quite a lengthy spell. Anything over about 3 months or more could prove costly on your CV, and the employer may be wondering what happened. Why were you out of work for so long?

A gap in your employment history should always be explained. This will prevent the employer from coming to their own conclusions – not of which will be good. So to avoid being seen as lazy or a potential liability, always plug that gap and include an explanation directly onto your work history timeline.

Here are some of the most common reasons for an employment gap:

  • Personal health reasons
  • Looking after a family member
  • Gap year
  • Going back to education
  • Raised a family

These are all perfectly normal reasons to be away from work, and you shouldn’t be afraid to explain your circumstances. You can go into as much or as little detail as you want, but as long as you have plugged that gap the employer can move on to more important aspects of your application.

3. Incorrect contact details

Your contact details need to be double checked before you apply. The employer may read your CV and want to contact you for an interview, but they can’t if you have a mistake in your details.

It only takes one number from your mobile or one letter missing or incorrect from your email to completely ruin your chances. Although you may be thinking that it’s unlikely you will make a mistake on all your contact details, it may not matter. The employer may only have one preferred method of communication, and if that fails they may not pursue it further.

So ensure both your email and mobile number are correct, and try to reply as quickly as possible. The same day is perfectly acceptable, but any longer than that and you could already have missed out on an interview.

4. Creating your own CV design

There are lots of CV examples online to use for inspiration, but it can still be very hard to create a good CV design. Most job seekers choose to go it alone and think that their skills behind a computer will be enough to get them into an interview. The issue here is that most people are not graphic designers by nature and will usually fail to impress with their format.

The best way to ensure your CV is looking great is to use what’s called an online CV template. They are free to download and you can preview how they look before you choose. Once downloaded you can then simply copy and paste your details across, or even write your CV directly into the template.

This is a more guaranteed way of ensuring your CV looks professional, has all the correct sections, and impresses the employer with its overall look. A badly designed CV with amazing skills and qualifications can still get rejected based on how it looks!

5. Spelling mistakes and poor formatting

The most popular reason why a CV gets rejected is because of spelling mistakes and poor formatting. Even just the one small spelling error could leave the employer in doubt as to the credibility of your application. The employer could assume you are prone to making errors, and although this may not be true it certainly doesn’t look good.

When the hiring manager spots a spelling mistake they will often struggle to think of anything else when reading the rest of your CV. It will gnaw away at them and put them off from acknowledging how suitable you are for the role. With so many other applications to read it could instantly result in rejection.

Another mistake which is often found comes down to poor formatting and overall layout. Your CV has to be easy on the eye and easy to navigate. Each section should be clearly headed and a professional font and appropriate size is a must. Every little detail has to be on point, from the amount of space you give between each section, to the amount of space you give from the edge of the page.

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