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Is Your CV Getting Rejected? Here's What You Need to Do

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It seems at the moment that every single job seeker has the same story:

  • ” I am applying for countless positions but constantly get rejected”
  • “Dave, I have applied for 20 jobs this month and only heard back from one to say I wasn’t succesfful”
  • “I don’t get it. I’ve had a great career, why wont anyone interview me?”

Does this sound familiar to you?

The start, you are not alone.  The labour market is changing and we will see less and less vacancies and much more CVs being rejected.

If you are applying for numerous jobs without success, it is highly likely that your CV (curriculum vitae) needs to be examined.  Your CV is a vital component of job hunting. It is often the first impression that a potential employer will have of you, and a poorly crafted CV can quickly lead to rejection. In this article, we will explore some common mistakes that job seekers make on their CVs and offer tips on how to write a successful CV that stands out.

Table of Contents

Common CV Mistakes And How To Fix Them

Over the past 10 years, I have scanned over 26000 CVs.  From scanning these CVs, I have identified 6 common reasons why CVs get rejected, which I have listed below.

1. Grammatical errors and typos:

  • Mistake: A CV with grammatical errors and typos can immediately put off potential employers and make you appear unprofessional.  According to a survey by TopCV, 68% of CVs are rejected because of grammatical errors and typos.  
  • Solution: Review your CV multiple times and use tools like Grammarly to catch any errors. Have someone else review your CV as well to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

2. Generic objective statement:

  • Mistake: A generic objective statement does not provide any value to potential employers and does not demonstrate your specific qualifications for the job.  A study by CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers would automatically reject a CV with a generic objective statement. 
  • Solution: Replace the objective statement with a professional summary that highlights your key skills, experience, and achievements related to the job you are applying for.

3. Lack of keywords:

  • Mistake: If your CV does not contain relevant keywords, it may not make it past automated scanning systems used by employers.  Another study by CareerBuilder showed that 77% of employers use automated systems to scan CVs for relevant keywords.
  • Solution: Review the job description and include keywords and phrases that match the requirements of the job. This will help your CV pass through automated scanning systems and reach potential employers.

7 Tips for Writing a CV That Gets You Noticed in 2023 Looking for a new job in 2023? To catch the …

4. Irrelevant information:

  • Mistake: Including irrelevant information such as your hobbies, personal interests, or unrelated work experience can distract from your qualifications for the job. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 58% of employers would automatically reject a CV with irrelevant information. 
  • Solution: Your CV should highlight your skills and accomplishments, not your entire work history. Avoid including irrelevant or outdated information, such as your high school grades or hobbies that are not relevant to the job. Focus on including information that is relevant to the job and demonstrates your skills and experience.

5. Formatting errors:

  • Mistake: One of the most common reasons for CV rejection is poor formatting. A cluttered, unorganized, or inconsistent layout can make it difficult for the employer to find the relevant information
  • Solution: To avoid this, make sure that your CV is well-structured and easy to read. Use headings, bullet points, and white space to break up the text. Keep the font and font size consistent throughout the document.

6. Lack of customization:

  • Mistake: A generic CV that is not customized for each job application can make you appear less qualified for the job.  A survey by CareerBuilder showed that 42% of job seekers do not customize their CVs for each job application
  • Solution: Customize your CV for each job application by tailoring your skills and experience to match the job requirements. This will demonstrate to employers that you are a good fit for the position and increase your chances of landing an interview.

Reading a printed copy of a resume

Tips For Writing a Successful CV

Take it from someone who looks at countless CVs every week.  Sending the same generic CV to every job application is a surefire way to get rejected.

Customize your CV for each job application: Tailor your CV to match the specific requirements of each job. This shows the employer that you have taken the time to research the company and understand their needs.

Highlight your accomplishments and skills: Your CV should showcase your achievements and skills, not just your job responsibilities. Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments, such as “increased sales by 20%” or “implemented a new process that saved the company $50,000.” This demonstrates your value to the company and sets you apart from other candidates.

Use keywords and industry-specific language: As mentioned earlier, using the right keywords and industry-specific language is essential to getting your CV past the automated screening process. Do your research on the company and industry and incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into your CV.

Keep it concise and well-organized: Your CV should be no longer than two pages and should be easy to scan. Use headings and bullet points to break up the text and make it easy for the employer to find the information they need.

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How To Handle CV Rejection

Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that your CV may still be rejected. Don’t take it personally – many factors could be at play, such as a high number of applicants or internal company policies. Instead, use it as an opportunity to improve your CV and refine your job search strategy.

Request feedback from the employer: The first thing I ask is for the feedback received from a rejected CV.  If possible, ask the employer for feedback on why your CV was rejected. This can provide valuable insight into what you need to improve. However, keep in mind that not all employers will provide feedback, and that feedback can be subjective. Use it as a guide, but don’t take it as the final word.

Evaluate and improve your CV: Use the feedback, if available, and evaluate your CV for any possible improvements. Consider asking a trusted friend or mentor to review your CV for feedback. Keep refining and customizing your CV for each job application, and stay up to date with the latest industry trends and job requirements.

Taking notes during a virtual conversation with Dave Crumby

Final Thoughts

A successful CV is crucial to landing your dream job. Avoid common mistakes such as formatting errors, typos and grammar mistakes, irrelevant or outdated information, and lack of keywords. Instead, focus on customizing your CV for each job application, highlighting your achievements and skills, and using industry-specific language and keywords. If your CV is rejected, use it as an opportunity to improve and refine your job search strategy. Remember, landing a job takes time and effort, but with persistence and a well-crafted CV, you’ll increase your chances of success.

Curriculum vitae and Résumé writing
PROFESSIONAL CV - £299

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I am currently supporting professionals with their CVs / resumes in the UK, across Europe, and North America.  

Do You Need Help With Writing Your CV?

Dave Crumby

I have spent the last 10 years supporting companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to find and the best talent around the world.  

During this time, I have:

✔️ Scanned and reviewed more than 26000 CVs.

For the past 4 years I have been producing professionally written CVs for job seekers who have secured new roles across 3 continents. 

Are you interested in working with me?

Email me today.

Best of luck,

Dave Crumby

Your Career Optimiser | Certified CV Writer

Career Development Specialists of The Year 2023

Winner of Most Supportive Career Branding Service 2022

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