3 reasons why your CV is getting rejected

Woman at computer frustrated - rejected CV

If you find that you’re struggling to get through to the interview stage it could be because your CV isn’t up to scratch.

This is especially true if you hold all the skills, qualifications and experience the company is advertising for. To narrow down the problem you may be experiencing with your CV, here are 3 reasons why your CV is getting rejected.

Silly mistakes

A mistake on your CV can come in many different forms. The most common and obvious one to avoid is with your spelling and grammar. Just the one small spelling mistake could result in rejection, and although it may seem harsh it’s completely understandable.

The hiring manager is looking for someone with impeccable accuracy and an eye for detail. If you are not diligent enough to spot this simple mistake then maybe you’re not the right candidate. So avoid this type of silly mistake and make sure you and a friend check your CV once completed.

There are also mistakes which are not as easy to recognise and come in the form of formatting. For instance, if you have the text too close to the edge it will look odd. The same can be said for if you have your text too far away from the edge. So choose a sensible distance in proportion to your font size and style.

When it comes to font style and size it’s important to stick with something relatively safe if you’re unsure. The most obvious are Times New Roman and Arial, but you can also choose Garamond, Cambria and Georgia. The size of your font should also be easy to read, but not too large. Around 12 should be about right, but it really does also depend on the style you’ve chosen and your page margins.

Another easy mistake: be wary of making a mistake with the alignment and spacing of your CV. Each section should be clearly indicated with a title and separated accordingly. Avoid bunching up your text and opt for bullet points to list certain items – tasks, skills, and so on. As with your margins try not to leave too big of a gap between your sections.

Finally, don’t plagiarise! It might be very tempting to copy someone else’s CV off the web but if an employer runs a quick plagiarism check, this is likely to lose you the interview. Sure, use example CVs to guide and inspire you, but never copy and paste word for word. If you’re not sure whether you’ve made this faux pas, run your CV through a plagiarism scanner before you send it off. Try www.clonewolf.com, www.plagiarismchecker.net or smallseotools.com.

Your CV isn’t for them

Writing a CV for you is the wrong approach. You should always write a CV for the employer and nobody else. But what do we mean by this?

Custom writing and tailoring your CV to the role and the company is the key to getting an interview. Even if you are not the highest qualified candidate you are still likely to make it further. This is because you’ve attempted to address what the company has requested, which is surprisingly quite rare.

The most common approach to CV writing is to simply list down all the previous jobs including tasks, all the skills and qualifications, education and so on. This entire career history is of no interest to the employer, and you shouldn’t force them to try and figure out what you can offer.

Start your CV again from scratch and read the job advert. In addition, do further research on the company to find out what they do and who their customers are. What are the current market trends? What skills have they requested in the job advert? What product do they sell? What do they want from me?

Put yourself in the shoes of the employer and think about what you’d want to read when reviewing a CV. Only then can you truly write the perfect CV that will push you forward to the next stage – the job interview!

Tailor your CV. Look at the company’s website and social media accounts, look to see if they’ve recently been mentioned in the local press and use the job advert to make sure your CV is targeted to the role and employer.


No performance

Now that you’ve created a CV that is completely tailored around what the company is looking for, there is one more vital step. Your performance, achievements and results must be clearly explained and demonstrated.

Most applications fail to prove to the employer that they are capable of great things. This is because they only tell the hiring manager what they can do, and miss out the important part – the evidence. Now, unfortunately they still have to take your word for it even if you do explain how you performed, but this is a far more credible CV than the first option.

There are lots of ways you can include your performance in your CV. First of all you can create a new section titled – ‘Achievements and awards’. Within here you can put down any noteworthy achievements. Here are some examples:

  • Employee of the month – August, September, December – 2019
  • Aftersales excellence award 2017
  • Regional sales winner – 2014
  • Law teacher of the year – 2016
  • Law practice management award – 2019

You should also aim to demonstrate your past performances by quantifying your statements. Here are two examples for your CV:

‘I achieved more sales than anyone else in the company.’

‘I sold a total of 312 network packages in 2019, which was the highest of any sales executive’

The second example is the clear winner as it takes the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach to CV writing. By providing actual numbers you are more likely to convince the hiring manager of your credentials.

Another great way to demonstrate your abilities is through a portfolio. This may however be mandatory for certain industries like acting and modelling, but for those that aren’t you can surprise the employer.

Take the initiative and create a stand out and stand alone application. Put together a portfolio of your achievements – either physical or online. Post your portfolio or even take it into the office along with your CV. Include anything deemed necessary to prove your worth – pictures, videos, drawings, advertising campaigns, graphs, charts, blueprints, and so on.

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