Writing a CV isn’t about creating a portfolio of your entire career. There is far much more to it than that! You need to be smarter if you want to grab the attention of the hiring manager – and we want to show you how.
Avoiding rejection is your goal, and we have some fantastic tips for you. Starting with why you should tailor your CV right down to incorrect details – we have it all. So let’s get started and look at the 5 things that can and will get your CV rejected.
1. Not tailored
We wanted to start with this one as it’s probably the most important. Not tailoring your CV is going to end in rejection – it’s as simple as that!
But what do we mean by tailor? If you choose to write just the one CV that lists all your achievements and entire career history, you are not going to provide the employer with what they need. Instead, you should take a more tailored and customised approach.
Write a CV from scratch that focuses solely on the one role, the one company, and the one industry. This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t apply for other jobs at the same time, but it does mean you write a new CV for each company.
Take note of what the company requires and write a CV that aims to address as many points as possible. Match the same words as the advert for your skills, and consider using other keywords which either match the advert or are considered appropriate for the industry.
Read more: How to tailor your CV for interview success
2. Generic hobbies
Your list of hobbies may not seem very important, but you’d be surprised at how many employers use them to figure out if you’d fit into their business. If you’re applying for a company that requires dynamic and outgoing personalities, then reading and walking the dog is probably going to put them off. In this instance you may be better off leaving out your hobbies section altogether.
This doesn’t mean to say you are not what they’re looking for, but it could give off the wrong impression. Generic hobbies like going out on the weekend with friends are just not worth putting down. You can have any hobbies you like, it’s up to you. But you do however need to consider how that will look on your CV.
If however you have sporty or creative hobbies, then you should always put these down. Go into more detail as to what you like to do and how involved you are. If you are the head of a committee or sports captain, then these hobbies all show great qualities – like leadership.
You can demonstrate lots of soft skills like communication and time management from certain hobbies. Active hobbies like sports also show someone who has the ability to work hard and be dedicated. Both of these traits could easily transfer over to the workplace.
3. Wrong order
The most common method of listing the timeline for your work history is in reverse chronological order. This means that the manager will open your CV and immediately come across your most recent roles.
Another format will probably cause confusion and frustration, which ends in rejection for you. So make sure you stick with the traditional way of writing your work history and don’t go for anything crazy or different just to get noticed – keep things simple!
Read more: How to lay out a CV
4. No cover letter
A cover letter is a great way to differentiate your self from the other candidates. There won’t be many other candidates that write one as it isn’t mandatory, which is why you should take advantage.
Standing out from the rest of the applicants is your main goal – but obviously for the right reasons. Write a professional, polite, and attention grabbing cover letter to increase your chances. It will also give you the opportunity to address any concerns the employer may have with your background, and help them to connect the dots.
Read more: Sample cover letters
There is nothing wrong with aiming high and applying for roles even if you don’t have the relevant experience. But there are also times when you clearly don’t have what’s required and are just wasting yours and the employer’s time.
Be careful not to fall into the same trap as lots of other job seekers, and apply for as many jobs as you can. Casting your net out to catch as many jobs as you can may seem like a great idea. You are bound to get at least one interview, right?
Rather than trying to gain an interview through the sheer volume of your applications, you should instead narrow your search down to what suits your credentials. In some instances you may even get called in for an interview only to struggle because of your lack of experience, skills or even qualifications. Some employers may decide to callback lots of candidates, even though they don’t fit the role. Again, this would waste a lot of time as you would be unable to justify your abilities in the interview.
If you really do have your heart set on a particular job or career and you are under qualified, then go out there and get what you need. Find out what the requirements are and put the wheels in motion, otherwise you may find yourself stuck in a job you don’t like for the next 20 years!