Applying for jobs can be an incredibly frustrating process. There’s nothing more demoralising than spending hours crafting the perfect application only to hear nothing back – especially when you feel that your skills and experience would have been perfect for the role. However, if you are finding that you are consistently falling at the first hurdle, there’s probably something wrong, and that something is probably your CV. Studies have shown that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a CV, so it’s crucial to grab their attention quickly and make sure the key details are at the forefront. Here’s five reasons your CV might not be getting noticed.
You’ve got relevant experience…but it’s on the third page.
It’s amazing how many people organise their work experience chronologically on their CV, starting with their first job and working through in order. A CV shouldn’t be a dispassionate list of all the jobs you’ve ever had, it should be a sales pitch emphasising why you are the perfect candidate for the job. If you’re applying for a marketing position, the first job a recruiter sees on your CV should be a marketing role, not the paper round you had when you were thirteen. Order your experience according to relevance for the job to which you’re applying, and you’ll find you have much greater success.
It’s full of buzzwords
So, you’re hard-working, passionate and self-motivated? So is everyone else, unfortunately. Whilst these are undoubtedly qualities that companies are looking for in an employee, they’re unlikely to make anyone take notice of your CV. Rather than stating these qualities over and over, fill your CV with hard facts that prove them to be true. Instead of saying you’re target-oriented, say that you have consistently met or surpassed your targets in all of your previous roles.
It’s five pages long
As mentioned, recruiters generally only scan through a CV, picking out the important details. So, brevity really is crucial – if your CV is four or five pages long, you’re increasing the chance that your most relevant achievements and experience will be missed. As a general rule, it’s good to keep it to no more than two pages, including only your most relevant experience.
Dodgy spelling, grammar and punctuation
It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many people have basic errors on their CV. Your CV is your first chance to present your case and make an impression, so make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot with easily avoidable mistakes. Poor spelling and grammar look sloppy and unprofessional, and that’s not the first impression you want to make when applying for a job.
You’ve left gaps unexplained
There’s nothing wrong with having long periods of inactivity on your CV, but these need to be fully explained. Maybe you took a career break to do some travelling or volunteer work, maybe you put your career on hold to concentrate on your family; there’s nothing wrong with these per se, but they should be flagged on your CV. Otherwise, a recruiter may assume there’s something amiss, and you might not get the credit your experience deserves..