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9 Reasons Why Your CV Might Get Rejected

5 min read
12 July, 2017
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First impressions are important, but impressing people is hard; especially when you only have 10–30 seconds to do so. That’s how long recruitment experts say it takes an employer to look at your CV or résumé and decide if they want to accept or reject you for an interview. If you’re finding your CV isn’t getting you an interview, then it could be because of 1 of these 9 common reasons.


1. It’s too long

The art of appealing to a recruiter is to reveal just enough to leave them wanting more. Remember that the purpose of a CV is to get you an interview. You don’t have to – and shouldn’t have to –include everything you’ve ever done in detail. Just show your biggest achievements and let them ask you questions. As a rule of thumb, a CV shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages. You can also include further information in your cover letter.


CV too long
Think about how many other CVs a hiring manager is reading – yours might get lost if it's too long


2. You don’t include your contact information

You could be the ideal candidate for the job, but if they don’t know how to get hold of you, then you’ll never have the chance to impress them. Remember to display your contact information in a prominent place. Your name, email address, and telephone number should be the first thing anyone reads at the top of your CV.


3. You make spelling or grammar mistakes

Your CV or résumé should have absolutely no spelling or grammar mistakes. This is about showing how professional and diligent you are, so if you don’t take care and pay attention to your own work, no employer will trust you to look after theirs. If you’re translating your CV into English, make sure you do it properly.


CV proofreading
Always double and triple check your CV and cover letter before you submit your job application


4. Your online profile is unprofessional

You might think that only LinkedIn is for work purposes, but actually employers will search your name online and check through all of your social media accounts. Make sure there isn’t anything there that could put them off.


5. You include a photo

In some countries, it’s customary to include a photo of yourself on your CV or résumé, but that’s not the case in most English-speaking countries. Do a bit of research and follow the standard conventions of the country you’re in – you want your CV to stand out, but not because it looks out of place.


CV photo
It's best practice not to include a photo on a CV or résumé


6. You have an inappropriate email address

[email protected] might have been a great email address when you were 11, but as a professional adult looking for employment it doesn’t look great at all. Use your full name if possible, or something close to it that’s easy to remember and spell.


7. You have missing dates

There shouldn’t be any gaps on your CV. Usually, employers are looking for the complete picture of your past 5 years in employment or education. But if you went to find yourself in a Tibetan monastery for 7 months, put that in – employers like life experience.


CV missing dates
Taking some time off to go traveling doesn't mean you have bad work ethic – include it!


8. You have misleading information

Everyone lies on their CV, right? Wrong! A little creativity to present yourself in the most positive light is a good idea, but don’t stretch the truth about how long you worked somewhere, what your job role was, or what you achieved. It will be verified with your previous employers.

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9. You haven’t personalized it for the job

An employer wants to know why you want to work for them and what you can offer them – not why you want any job and what you can offer anyone. Tailor your CV to each position you apply for, don’t use bland, generic words, and mention the company by name if you can. Little touches like this will stand out.


Do you have any questions about your CV before you send it to employers? Contact one of our student advisors today!


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