Not getting interviews? Is your CV rubbish?

by | 22.09.22

Searching for a new job can be a tedious process but the worst part of job searching is learning that a job has been filled and you haven’t even been called for an interview. If you find yourself in that situation over and over again you need to establish why this keeps happening so you can address it. Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” solution to guarantee you will get an interview for any job you apply for but sometimes all you need to do is make minor changes to your CV – on other occasions you may have to revamp your whole strategy. Here are some tips on identifying where you could be going wrong:

Are there mistakes on your CV?

Proof read your CV then proof read it again. Check the spelling and dates carefully to ensure there are no errors. What errors mean to a potential employer is that you have a poor attention to detail, or that you rushed your CV and don’t really care about the position you are applying for, you are just going through the motions. Employers want people who take pride in what they do so if you can’t be bothered to make sure your CV is right you simply will not get an interview.

Is your CV formatted well?

There are no real rules when you are preparing a CV except one and that is it should be reader friendly. An employer should be able to see at a glance where you live, your work history and your education. If your CV is all over the place and the facts that an employer is interested in are not clear I promise you it will be disregarded. Employers using job portals could receive on average 30 CVs for jobs they are advertising. To read 30 CVs thoroughly would take a long time so the employer is going through a simple check list which is 1) Can the candidate get to me easily, are they local? 2) Has the candidate got the right experience and skills I require for my role? 3) What did the candidate achieve when in education? So keep your layout simple and easy to read.

Have you put too much info on your CV?

Following on from keeping your CV simple another piece of advice is keep it short. Again an employer will read two pages they won’t read six. So make sure you do not put too much information on your CV. For instance never go back more than ten years on your work history, I promise you no-one is interested in what you were doing twenty years ago. Be short and concise with your job responsibilities, no-one wants to read a full page detailing your current role, it may be interesting to you but it probably will be boring to other people. Too much information is as bad as not enough, so be careful.

Have you not put enough on your CV?

This is as bad as too much information, a job title won’t do, you need to show what your day-to-day duties are in your current/previous roles. The easiest way to do this is by using bullet points. Eight to ten bullet points should cover most tasks you did. Make it easier for the employer to choose you and in order to do this they need to be able to assess quickly whether you are suitable for the role or not.

Have you given too much personal information?

Despite the laws we have in this country discrimination is still alive and kicking in the workplace and anyone practising this type of behaviour could reject your CV by seeing things they don’t like. Firstly I would advise you not to put a picture on your CV as this will tell an employer your age, naturally following this never put your date of birth. Education is another big age give away, if you did GCE, O Levels you are over 50. Other personal details to avoid putting on CVs are religion, details of your children or bizarre hobbies.

Is your cover letter boring?

Your cover letter may be flawless but is it boring? Are you using the same cover letter for every job you are applying for? Read the job description for the role you are applying for and tailor your cover letter so it includes the experience you have that will make you suitable for the position. Make the employer want to see you before they have even looked at your CV. Don’t waffle on and on about your experience, keep your letter short and sweet, but make sure it is tailored for each individual job you are applying for. The rule is one letter doesn’t fit all applications so give this some thought before you send off your CV.

Are you chasing your job applications?

Many people fail to realise that there is more to getting an interview than just sending your CV and hoping. You need to be proactive. The employer may have received 100 CVs for their role so unless you stand out from the crowd you are not going to get an interview. You need to get the employers attention, call or email them and stress how interested in the job you are and how you feel you have skills and experience needed for the role. Tell them when you are free for an interview and how to contact you. The least this will do is make the employer search for your CV and hopefully read it. Pushy is the attitude to have if you want to get a good job.

Are you keeping your job search a secret?

You have applied to a Company where your friend/relative/Aunt Annie works but you haven’t told them yet because you are embarrassed. You need to get over yourself. As long as you have the right skills and experience required for the role and do not think your relationship with someone who already works for the employer would affect you or their performance, use this friendship or acquaintance. It is much easier to get an interview if you have been referred. Employers also love referrals, some large organisations even pay their staff a bonus if they refer someone who is subsequently employed.

Is your social media presence naughty?

Most employers nowadays will check on your social media pages prior to inviting you for an interview. Believe me employers don’t want drunk, aggressive, provocative and badly behaved employees. Your behaviour could spill into the office place and it is a risk that employers wont take. Every company out there wants a professional workforce and if they see you behaving in an unacceptable way in your social life they are not going to employ you under any circumstances.

Are you being realistic?

Sometimes your ambition leads you to apply for jobs you are not qualified for or do not have the experience for. It is okay to apply for jobs that are the next step up to the one you are currently in but they shouldn’t be the only jobs that you are applying for. We would advice you to be realistic, go for jobs you are going to get, jobs where you have the skills, experience and qualifications needed to get the role. Stretching in order to progress in your career is great just don’t stretch too much.

So to finalise its not easy to take an honest look at things you may be doing wrong when applying for jobs but being aware of obstacles standing in your way is the first step to changing a situation.

Happy Job Search!

By Angela Burton