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10 reasons why your CV could be rejected

3rd November 2019

Did you know that your CV will only be read by the hiring manager for just a few measly seconds seconds?

According to a study released this week by TheLadders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. – Time 

That isn’t a long time, and you may be wondering why this is so. The hiring manager is a very busy person, even when they are not looking to hire. So they obviously want to spend as little time as possible reading each application they receive.

The manager will have a certain amount of information they want to quickly find so they can create a ‘potential’ pile. This means they may only need about half a minute to assess good candidates that could be considered for a second read or even an interview.

You have to make a great first impression and capture the attention of the employer within those precious few seconds. So to help you avoid an instant dismissal, here are 10 reasons why your CV can and will be rejected.

1. A spelling or grammatical error

A large or even small error with your spelling or grammar will result in rejection. With so many other highly qualified job seekers to choose from, the employer doesn’t need much of an excuse.

This kind of error shows that you are sloppy and incapable of being diligent. This sloppiness could easily transfer over to the workplace and you may be someone who’s prone to making constant mistakes.

2. An unprofessional picture

It’s quite rare to see a picture attached to a CV, but from time to time it does happen. The problem with this is that most job seekers choose the wrong picture. Most employers don’t mind seeing a picture of the candidate as it can make a positive impact, but only if the right photo is chosen.

If you really do want to attach a picture to your CV, then make sure it’s a professional one. Avoid anything that looks like your passport photo and try to choose one that portrays you in the best light. If in doubt, don’t bother. Unless you are applying for a modelling or acting role, then a picture isn’t necessary.

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3. Silly email address

Some employers may find your crazy email address funny – but most won’t. If you currently have ‘[email protected]’ as your CV contact email address, it really does need changing to something more appropriate.

Consider creating a new email address specifically for when applying. Use your name and keep it professional and appropriate. A new email address will also have no initial spam coming through, so it will be easier to spot any replies with job interview offers.

4. Poor formatting

The structure and format of your CV needs to be professional and easy to read. If the employer only wants to spend a few seconds seeking out relevant information, you need to make sure your CV helps them do that.

Use the correct amount of spaces between each section, and clearly define each part with bold headings. Include all of the expected sections which are:

  • Contact details
  • Personal statement
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills

These are typically classed as mandatory by any employer, but there are also some additional sections you can add which are:

  • Achievements
  • Awards
  • Publications
  • Training courses
  • Hobbies and interests
  • References (can be on request)

Find out more: CV sections

5. Errors in your work history timeline

If you have a gap in your work history or even make a mistake with your dates, the employer is likely to become suspicious. They could assume that you are struggling to make an impact at the interview stage, and they don’t want to waste their own time finding out the same.

Prevent an employment gap from happening by keeping busy. Choose voluntary or part time work over watching Netflix, or take a part time course. You need to plug an employment gap by taking the initiative and staying on top of the situation.

Finally, check your dates to ensure they flow correctly from one job to the next. You don’t have to give the exact date of employment as a month and year is more than acceptable.

See also  3 reasons why your CV may be stopping you getting an interview 

6. Personal information

The only personal information required for a CV is contact details. Your name, mobile number and email address is more than enough. The employer doesn’t need to know your shoe size, political stance, religious beliefs, eye colour, height, or whether you smoke or not.

By providing additional personal information you are leaving yourself open to discrimination. Although we would like to believe that an employer won’t reject you because of your shoe size, there is no way of knowing. So don’t leave yourself open to discrimination and only provide your contact information and name.

Just as you shouldn’t include your age, it is advisable not to include any personal information in a CV. – The Guardian

7. Too many pages

There is always a debate as to whether two or three pages is the correct length for a CV. But what we can tell you is that two pages is typically the industry standard amongst most careers. However, in some cases you may be expected to roll over to a third page, especially if you work in the medical, nursing or research sector.

Certain professions would demand a three page CV due to the amount of experience, qualifications and achievements present. This high level position would benefit greatly from a three or even four page CV whereby the employer would take a few minutes analysing it.

Unless you are specifically aware that a three page CV is the standard length for your career, we would advise sticking with two pages. Any more than that could result in rejection because your are providing too much information.

8. Embellishments or lies

Every employer is well aware of how biased the CV writer is and how easily they can manipulate their credentials to get a job interview. The hiring manager is experienced in seeing through these embellishments and lies, which means you may be rejected for it.

Our advice would be to avoid embellishments and certainly any lies to avoid rejection, but to also be true to your self. You shouldn’t have to make false claims on your CV to get a job, and you should instead place faith in your skills and have more confidence in what you do have to offer.

See also  The 3 things your CV must do

If you make it through to the interview stage there is a very good chance you’ll fail to validate your CV. The worst case scenario is that you even get hired but then get fired at a later date for lying about your skills or qualifications. Don’t let it get that far!

9. Wacky font styles

There is nothing wrong with trying to be a little creative with your CV, and maybe even a splash of colour would look great. But a wacky font is probably not the best idea, and a more professional choice would always be a safer option.

Here are the most popular and accepted fonts to use on your CV:

  • Calibri
  • Garamond
  • Times New Roman
  • Cambria
  • Helvetica
  • Georgia
  • Arial

Find out more: Recruiters Reveal the 7 Best Fonts for Your Resume in 2019.

10. Not to the point

Knowing that the employer will only need a few seconds to assess a CV, it makes sense that any kind of waffle will end in rejection. Your CV must get straight to the point and only provide what’s relevant.

Cut down any lengthy sentences or paragraphs and consider using bullet points where possible. Write a CV that makes it easy for anyone to quickly dabble in and out and extract what they need. This means you should also dial back the details on any really old jobs and/or anything which isn’t relevant.

Focus and expand upon all the relevant roles which would typically be your recent. The same goes for any skills which you may have which won’t benefit the employer. They do not need to be on your CV if they won’t be used in the job. So tailor your CV to suit the employer and match the word they use in the job advert to grab their attention.

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