After weeks of searching, you finally find the perfect job. You read through the job description and if you didn’t know better, you might think it was written specifically for you. You are the perfect fit for your dream job. Hallelujah! The job search is off, you’ve finally found The One.
You apply for the job, painstakingly fill out the lengthy application form, attach your carefully crafted CV and hit ‘submit’.
And then you wait.
Weeks go by and still you hear nothing.
You wonder why you haven’t had so much as a screening call, never mind an invitation for an interview. You call up the employer to find out what is happening and find out the devastating news that you didn’t make the cut.
Searching for a new job can be frustrating and disheartening at times, especially when you don’t get called for an interview for a job that you felt you were a perfect match for.
We know how tough the recruitment process can be, so we have put together five common ways your CV may be scaring away potential employers:
1. Your CV is difficult to read or has lots of spelling mistake
Employers and recruiters will often get many candidates applying for the same role. The appearance of your CV is your first chance to make a good impression, so take care to put your best work forward. Run a spell check over your CV or ask a trusted friend to read over it and give you feedback. It is also sensible to double check your contact details to ensure your email address is spelt correctly and your phone number has the right number of digits in the right order, so when you have followed this advice you are able to receive the good news that you have been shortlisted.
2. Long periods of unexplained unemployment There are many reasons you may have been out of work for a while; illness or injury; child-rearing; a redundancy inspired gap year or caring for a loved one. If you have been out of work for a while, make sure you explain the reasons why in your application. You can either put this explanation in your cover letter, where you can go into brief details of any periods of unemployment, or within your work history so the information is immediately available to the reader.
3. Unexplained short stints in numerous jobs
Again, there can be lots of reasons why you may have had lots of short-term jobs as opposed to long stretches with one employer. Unexplained, this can ring alarm bells for employers who want to hire someone who will be able to bring stability to a role. If you have genuine reasons for multiple short periods of employment, make sure you address these in your cover letter. Take advantage of the opportunity to put all the information you want a potential employer to know in front of them while you can.
4. The role you’re applying for is a step down from your previous role
Often the people screening your CV or application are not the people who will be making the hiring decisions. Often whoever is screening your CV will be looking to see how well your CV matches the job specification rather than how well your previous experience and transferable skills can make you a great choice for the role. If you are applying for a role that is a step down from your previous roles, it’s a good idea to explain why this is in your cover letter and follow up with a phone call.
5. You haven’t tailored your application to the specific role you are applying for
Tailoring a CV and cover letter can be time consuming, especially if you are applying for lots of jobs. There are a couple of ways to combat this problem.
Firstly, become more selective about which jobs you apply for. Only apply for jobs that you are genuinely interested in. This will free up more time to spend on maximising the impact of applications for jobs you are really passionate about.
Secondly, utilise the summary at the top of your CV to add in a couple of sentences or points that relate specifically to the job you are applying for. This will show potential employers that you have put some thought in to your application. Make sure you address some of the job specification criteria in your cover letter and address any of the relevant points above.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into areas you can improve your job applications to give yourself the best chance of getting the job. You can also engage a specialist recruiter to help you with your job search. This way, you will have somebody who can review your CV and actively search and put you forward for opportunities, doubling your chances of success.