Top 10 Reasons Your CV Keeps Getting Rejected (And how to Fix It)

First impressions are important, but impressing people is hard; especially when you only have 10–30 seconds to do so. That’s how long recruitment experts say it takes an employer to look at your CV and decide if they want to accept or reject you for an interview.

How to get your CV accepted

What even is a CV?

A CV, which stands for curriculum vitae, is a document used when applying for jobs. It provides a summary of your experience, academic background including teaching experience, degrees, research, awards, publications, presentations, and other achievements, skills, and credentials. CVs are typically used for academic, medical, research, and scientific applications.

A CV focuses on your “scholarly identity.” Latin for “the course of one’s life,” a curriculum vitae needs to reflect very specifically your abilities as a teacher, curator, researcher, and publishing scholar within a discipline. A CV will contain extensive information about your academic background as well as professional experiences that contribute to the role you are applying for.

Your CV is the tool that helps you get your foot in the door when applying for jobs. 

Why your CV keeps getting rejected

 If you’re finding your CV isn’t getting you an interview, then it could be because of some mistakes that you have done, which we will further talk about.

YOU ARE QUALIFIED BUT YOUR CV DOESN’T SHOW IT

Sometimes because of lack of expression or proper way of writing, you aren’t able to show or express your true self in your CV. You need to take a hard look at your CV and find a way to showcase your skills and experience. To present your best and showcase yourself out.

WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO

Rejection hurts. Especially if you had high hopes, or if the rejection was particularly unexpected.

But when it comes to job hunting, it is sometimes more simple than you think. You could be jeopardizing your employment possibilities by making any one of the simple mistakes or in case of fresher’s or newbie’s, because of lack of knowledge and experience can make you do some mistakes in your CV.

There is no one size fits all method in your CV. It does not have a particular or standard format to follow. It is very subjective from person to person; there are only some rules or guidelines that should be kept in mind and properly followed while making your CV.

Avoid These 8 Pitfalls

1. Writing Too Much

Just because you have leeway when crafting a CV doesn’t mean you have to include everything you’ve ever accomplished at some point, you’ll get off the topic.

It’s always a QUALITY OVER QUANTITY thing. A short, well-written CV is much more effective than one that rambles on. 

Being concise is a skill, and it is never better appreciated than by recruiters. Find the correct keywords to describe the skill or experience you want to include, and keep it short. The title is usually self-explanatory (e.g. Chef = someone who cooks) so try to mention the extra tasks that your employers trusted you with.

It is important to check the specific guidance for each application, but generally, a CV should be no more than 2 pages.

2. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes

If an employer spots any grammatical errors in your CV they will almost certainly reject it immediately, as submitting a CV with basic errors, especially in an academic context, is considered a huge red flag. It leads to Losing Readability. Make sure you’ve thoroughly checked your writing.  

3. You haven’t personalized it for the job

An employer wants to know why you want to work for them and what you can offer them – not why you want any job and what you can offer anyone. Tailor your CV to each position you apply for, don’t use bland, generic words, and mention the company by name if you can. Go through the job specification and the company profile to ensure that your CV meets what the employer is looking for and submit exactly what is specified in the application. 

Tailor your CV for each application rather than submitting a generic one. Little touches like this will stand out.

If you can create a well-written, professional-looking CV that is tailored to the job you’re applying for, your chances of landing an interview will increase markedly.

4. The truth and nothing but the truth

It might be tempting to embellish to make your CV appear more impressive, but employers often verify what you have included and if they find out you have lied then you may find your employment terminated. Extensive background checks are done prior to taking somebody on board.  Stretching the truth after an extent could land you in hot water. Many candidates trip themselves up, with the most common misleading information being put on CVs being:
– The inaccuracy of dates to try and cover up job hopping or unexplained gaps in employment
– Inflated education achievements, including purchasing online degrees which are worthless
– Inflated salaries
– Exaggerated job titles
– Exaggerated career accomplishments
– Blatant lies in regard to roles and duties

5. Graphics and/or irrelevant pictures

Unless designing graphics is relevant to the job you are applying to keep them off your CV. They are a waste of space, and some recruiters will see them as pointless and unprofessional. Do not include a photo unless it is required. If you are asked to supply a photo it should be one that reflects your professional image.

6.  A Ridiculous Email Address

Email addresses are free. Recruiters as well understand that everyone has the right to choose whichever name they want to be identified with for their addresses.

However, leave this for the informal social networks. Emails like prettyliars12345@abcd.com or cupcakecutie@efgh.com should not be found anywhere in your CV.

Get an account that is just your name or as close to your name as possible, and use it for job applications. Show seriousness and professionalism to the employer before they even get to know you. 

7. Unexplained gaps in your CV

Unexplained gaps in your CV or inaccurate/confusing dates can drive a recruiter crazy and might make them give up looking at your CV altogether. If you have any gaps in your CV, either due to redundancy, taking time out to have a family or for personal reasons, it is better to explain them than not. You don’t have to go into detail. One short simple sentence will suffice e.g., “June 2020 – March 2021: Actively seeking work after redundancy”.

8. Poor formatting and bad use of space

Remembering you have to keep your CV to two pages; it is essential you make maximum use of the limited space. Simply reducing the size of the text is not a good solution, as this can make the CV harder to read. Keeping the font size between 10 and 12, make use of the full page, and keep margins to 0.75-1 inch (2-2.5 cm).

People go a bit ‘artistic’ and use 5 different fonts in all the colours of the rainbow.  The golden CV rule is to keep to one single easy-to-read font like Calibri, Ariel, or Times New Roman and to keep the font black.  Avoid small or hard-to-read fonts and colours or background effects.

Your CV is the first chance you will get to impress a recruiter or potential employer. Make sure it’s not your last chance by taking note of all of the points above and writing a CV that will communicate your value in the best possible way.

Why your CV is getting rejected

Bottom Line

It can be disheartening applying for what you think is your dream job, only to fall at the first hurdle. But don’t give up. By taking a step back and reviewing where you might have gone wrong, your next application will be that much stronger and your chances that much greater.

Take your time to write your CV. Your CV should be simple, organized, and laid out logically so that key information can be found quickly.

Everything you include on a CV, however, should in some way contribute to you as an exceptional candidate. So, in addition to listing all the things you’ve done, you should highlight how these experiences exposed you to certain conditions or gave you valuable skills that will benefit you in your particular role. Thoroughly read the job description and researching an employer ahead of time will give you an idea of what the ideal candidate will look like.

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Charu Gyanchandani
Articles: 15

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