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CV rejection: Why your CV isn’t selling you

Cv rejection

As a job seeker, you want to stand out. Therefore, your curriculum vitae is one you hope to make a great first impression on and move forward your application.

It’s difficult to tell how costly an error in a CV can be, but some blunders have become deal-breakers that could cost the job itself. You can’t overlook or commit such mistakes that can cause recruiters or hiring managers to form unfavourable ideas about you.

Here are some of the most common CV mistakes and how to avoid them to create an impeccable one that passes the scrutiny of software applications and hiring professionals.

1. Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Misspellings, missing words, and badly written sentences, among others, can distract readers from the substantial: your qualifications.

In the perspective of employers, such glaring errors can imply lack of attention to details or effort. It also gets complicated if the job requires you to be meticulous and exact.

For an error-free document:

  • Read, and review.
  • Run it on a grammar-checking software/app.
  • Ask someone to proofread it for you.
  • Use google translate and have it read it out loud to you.


2. Insufficient or Irrelevant Information

It’s understandable for CVs to be longer because they are more detailed. However, the more relevant concern, which is something some candidates miss out on, is the kind of information that adequately presents your work experience.

The insufficient information or too much of it may be taken as you do not exert enough effort in organisation and presentation.

Here are three main points when describing your employment history:

  • Elaborate on the most recent role, especially if it’s related to the job you are eyeing. This latest job is an excellent opportunity to show your suitability based on your primary responsibilities, which may be similar to those being posted and accomplishments.
  • Aim for succinct descriptions for previous jobs that were years ago or not related to the current application. This provides more spotlight and space for the more relevant roles.
  • Focus on your achievements and skills. Although it’s necessary to disclose your duties, don’t make it exhaustive to include all routine tasks.

3. Inaccuracies and Lies

Lying is one of the most common CV mistakes, be it overstating job titles or responsibilities, coming up with embellished stories, adjusting employment dates, exaggerating skills, or

But make no mistake about the consequences of the action. Your application can be discarded right away, and you’d thus miss your chance for an interview.

Some recruiters look for job stability when scanning resumes. Instead of trying to cover up employment gaps and job-hopping trends, find the best explanation where your learnings shine.

Employers run background checks, interviews can expose inconsistencies, and truths come out somehow. So, don’t lie but try not to be overly frank that you end up saying things you shouldn’t have.

4. Tired or Unnecessary Words

Word choice is crucial when customising your cover letter, curriculum vitae, and any job-related communication. Because recruiters read hundreds if not thousands of such documents, it’s effortless for them to spot CV mistakes.

If your CV is sounding familiar like somebody else’s, revise:

    • No action verbs. Action verbs emphasise your accomplishments, together with statistics and results. If you planned and executed a successful campaign, show it using strong and impactful verbs.
    • Full of cliches and buzzwords. Not only are they wordy, but they are unnecessary if your bullet points are worded accordingly. So, for example, instead of outrightly saying you are a team player or passionate, let your examples speak.
    • No keywords. It is reported that 90 per cent of the U.S.’s biggest companies use an applicant tracking system or ATS.
    • Create an ATS-friendly file by incorporating keywords that match the job requirements.


5. Bad or Poor Formatting

CVs have various formats, such as chronological and skills-based. It’s ideal for tailoring the document based on the position or as the employer specified.

If you want to try something fancy, think about “readability.” The document should be easy to read.

Does your CV look too busy or messy? Then, it’s time to improve its format:

  • Walls of text: Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Use bullet points.
  • Different font styles: Use a uniform font throughout the document and which could match the role. Popular ones are Times New Roman and Helvetica.
  • Too-small font-size: Twelve (12) points are standard and comfortable for the eyes, especially if the document is many pages long.

Make No CV Mistakes

You can learn from your past CV mistakes and constantly work to improve this all-important document. Even when you are not actively seeking employment, you can update it regularly to reflect current contact details, add certifications, etc.

With diligence, attention, and awareness of recruiter preferences, you can produce a curriculum vitae that presents you perfectly.

Essentially, stick to facts, steer clear of anything that causes the screeners to lose focus, and show your main selling points the best way you can.

Don’t forget to share this post!



Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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