A Curriculum Vitae is the go to document for every employer wanting to find out who has what it takes to join their company. The hiring manager has the unenviable task of reading through the many applications they receive to try and distinguish which one is the real deal. It isn’t easy, and although it seems like a simple case of comparing skills and qualifications against a check list, there is much more to look at.
If you’re currently seeking employment and are having a hard time getting to the interview stage, there a few things you can check. Your CV needs to be written to a very high standard, and simply listing all of your qualifications, skills, tasks and responsibilities is not enough.
Here are 3 reasons why your CV will fail to get an interview.
It has mistakes
Looking at the most popular reason why a CV fails to get an interview – a mistake. But what kind of mistakes should you look to avoid? Well, to put it simply – any and all!
The most common mistake you will find on a CV, résumé, covering letter, or any document at all for that matter, is a spelling or grammatical error. Obviously it’s far easier to avoid this mistake in today’s modern world when we have spell checkers and programs like Grammarly, but you’d be amazed at how often this still happens.
At least a third of applications submitted to employers contain a mistake. This could relate to errors with spacing between sections, incorrect font style or size, or a general lack of professionalism. In more recent times, plagiarism has also been a problem – so you shouldn’t be surprised if prospective employers use a plagiarism scanner! If you’ve borrowed bits that sound good from templates, beware – this could lose you the interview. Use a plagiarism checker to test your CV before you send it out.
Overall your CV has to be perfectly written and presented if you want to stand any chance of getting through to the interview stage. With so many other applicants all achieving this minimum expectation, you can’t afford to be left behind.
It isn’t relevant
Have you ever thought about how relevant your CV is to the job and even company you are applying too? This may seem like an obvious factor to consider when writing your application, but most job seekers fail to recognise the importance of this. Even if you assume your CV is relevant you are possibly missing an opportunity to go one step further.
Tailoring your CV to the job and the company is the ultimate approach as it will ensure you cover most or even all of the job requirements. Every word, sentence and paragraph should aim to demonstrate an ability, trait, or skill that relates to the job on offer. This doesn’t mean that you should cut out anything else which isn’t directly relevant, but what it does mean is that you should use every single angle you have to twist it towards the role.
Look for any transferable skill you can find, no matter how unrelated it appears at first. If you can’t be specific with everything then take a more generic approach. For example, if communication and organisation are vital for the new role, then look for any examples from your work history that highlight your experience in these two areas. It wouldn’t make any sense to simply list all of the most important tasks and responsibilities when most of them may not relate to the new role.
Your entire application should be written from scratch to ensure you can completely customise it to whoever you apply too. This also means you would write a new one each and every time you apply, or at the very least make some amendments if the job titles are similar.
There are no results
The two main concerns of the hiring manager when reading the applications is if the candidate highlights the relevant skills, qualifications and experience as detailed in the job advert, and also if they can prove they are good at what they do. This second aspect is one which is often found to be missing, and leaves the employer in the dark.
Having all the right credentials is a start, and of course would be a mandatory requirement in some cases. But being able to demonstrate performance and show high results is the next step, and must be present if you want to make it to the interview stage. A good CV shows all the right credentials, but a great one also demonstrates a proven track record. The difference between a good and great CV is huge to the employer, and will usually get an interview instantly.
To help you understand how you can provide results and performance indicators, here are two examples. The first it the old style of writing a CV which is full of baseless cliché statements, and the second is a more modern and credible approach:
I am hard working and have fantastic communication skills.
I consistently met and exceeded my sales targets for 2018 and 2019 with a total of 10 contracts negotiated and confirmed on average each month. As such, my efforts resulted in winning the award of ‘Top Salesperson of the Month’ on 8 occasions, and ‘Best Overall Salesperson for 2019’.
The first statement is very bold and gives no indication of how true it is. The job seeker is assuming the hiring manager will believe them – but is that fair? No, it isn’t fair and shouldn’t be expected of anyone. If we were all able to simply state how great we were on a CV then how on earth would the employer choose who to interview?
The second statement doesn’t have to say how great the person is at communicating and working hard because it provides actual information on their performance. The fact that this individual has won awards for their work is more than enough information that they are good at what they do.
To find out how you can insert lots of achievements and results, here’s a great article you should read – How to highlight your achievements on your CV.