Having a job application rejected can be disheartening, especially when you know you’re plenty qualified for the role. But the most likely reason for this is that your CV didn’t grab the recruiter’s attention. By taking some time to strengthen your CV, you’ll stand a better chance of securing an interview next time. Andrew Fennell, founder of StandOut CV describes how you can review and improve your CV, so you can boost your application and increase your chances of success.
Assess your goals and CV
Obviously, you’re looking to secure an interview (and hopefully the job!) but you also need to put some real thought into what your goals are in terms of the role you want. For example, if you’re hoping to secure a job in an accountancy firm that offers room for growth, does your CV reflect this? If the answer is no then you need to re-assess your CV and cover letter to ensure they clearly outline your career goals.
Make your CV easier to read
When writing a CV, the temptation can be to try a quirky design or to stuff every inch of the page with facts about you. The reality is that you want your CV to look neat and be easy for recruiters to read. Otherwise, it’ll quickly end up in the ‘rejected’ pile.
In order to make your CV easier to read, start by choosing a clear font and make sure it’s not too small. Next, ensure it’s broken down into the appropriate sections: profile, education, experience and so on. Smaller paragraphs make it far easier for the recruiter to digest the information. It’s also a good idea to use bullet points where appropriate.
Re-focus your CV profile
Your profile is one of the most important parts of your CV. It’s the first thing that recruiters read, so it needs to grab their attention. If your profile is generic, unfocused or packed with clichés, they certainly aren’t going to put your forward for an interview. Spend some time editing your profile so that it includes the specific requirements the employer is looking for. This helps the employer to quickly recognize that you’re a good match for the role. For example, if they have specified that you need a relevant degree, be sure to mention your that degree in your profile. It’s also a good idea to take keywords directly from the job description and pepper these throughout your profile.
Remove irrelevant info
While you might want to wow the recruiter with all the part-time jobs you’ve had and extracurricular activities you’ve been part of, you need to make sure these are relevant. Packing your CV full of useless information is going to damage your chances. Review what you have included and ask yourself ‘is this really relevant to the role, company and industry I’m applying for?’ Take out any irrelevant information to make room for skills that match your target roles.
Try different job search channels
Another reason you may have been rejected is that you’re simply not looking for the right jobs in the right places. To increase your chances of having your application accepted, try out new job search channels. These could include networking sites like LinkedIn, employer review sites, company careers pages and particularly niche jobs boards, such as those aimed at graduates.
If you’ve had a job application rejected, it’s time that you reviewed your CV.
By spending some time perfecting your personal profile, ensuring that your CV is clearly laid out and that you only include relevant information, you’ll drastically increase your chances of landing an interview.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.