Waiting for a response to a job application can be a soul destroying experience. Even more so when you've applied for multiple roles but still your inbox stays resolutely empty. If that’s happened to you then you should take a closer look at the common element, your CV – especially if you know that you’re well qualified for the position.
We suggest you take a step back and think like an employer then go over every detail in your CV with a fine toothcomb, because there could be something in there which potential employers just don’t like.
It could be something as simple as your grammar, there might be a small but significant spelling mistake or maybe something more subtle like a piece of information which could suggest you’d be a less than perfect candidate. So take a look at our suggestions for things that might be preventing you from getting your foot in the door with employers:
There's a difference between polishing a CV and embellishing it. You might think you can get away with a few small untruths especially if you think they make you sound more experienced, but don’t try it. The person reading your CV does it for a living and can spot things that don’t seem quite right– no matter how small. You might think it’s worth it but it’s not, especially because it’s bound to be found out some time. Better to be open and honest.
Bad grammar and typographical errors
This is just common sense after all who’s going to take you seriously if you can’t market yourself properly and haven’t taken the time to even spellcheck your own CV? Read and re-read your CV. Then get other people to go over it – it’s surprising how you miss errors in your own work, simply because you read what you expect to read.
Keep your layout simple, smart and regulated. Don’t leave uneven margins in place. And choose a modern, sans serif font – Ariel or Tahoma, for example. Use clear informative headlines and keep the use of bold to a minimum. Don’t underline and don’t use emoticons, I repeat don’t use emoticons.
Irrelevant work experience
Fruit picking in the summer as a teenager doesn’t mean a thing. Nor does that three-month temporary post a few years ago – unless it led to your chosen career path. Keep in the information relevant to the role you’re applying for lose the surplus. Everything should relate to where you are and where you’re aiming to be in professional terms.
Employers don’t care about your marital status, sexual orientation or religious persuasion unless – for some reason – they are relevant to the position you’re seeking.
Going to Star Wars conventions, building models of the Taj Mahal out of matchsticks, collecting vintage handbags – the list is endless, and none of it will get you one step closer to being hired, though it might ensure that you’re not.
Current business contact information
This tells a potential employer you’re not very bright. Would you really want them to call you at work? And did you not realise that your current employer can monitor calls and emails? Good luck dealing with that when you get called in to explain your contact with a rival company.
Buzzwords and jargon
Your CV should be clear, concise and easy to understand. No one wants to sift through phrases like 'go-getting' and 'self-starting' and dear me but who would think of ‘thinking outside the box’. Rewrite any examples that use this kind of language and you’ll see how everyday language works a lot better than jargon.
Lists of duties without results
It’s not enough to say you oversaw the reorganisation of a department. You need to give reasons and show insight to your potential employer. Say, instead, that your reorganisation of the department improved efficiency by 20% and created a more productive working environment.
If a potential employer wants them, you’ll be asked for them.
‘Personal’ email addresses
Your friends might like to know you as 'email@example.com' or 'firstname.lastname@example.org' but an address like that can be regarded as unprofessional. It only takes a minute to register a new address and it doesn’t cost a thing.