CV mistakes: 6 classic reasons why your CV gets rejected

Applying for lots of new career opportunities but feel like you’re going nowhere fast? Starting to get tired of receiving rejection after rejection… or better yet, no response at all? Rejection is an inevitable part of most people’s career switch, but there comes a point when you need to ask yourself if there’s something you could be doing better.

The good news is you’re in the right hands. Here at The People Pod, we’d like to think we have a few nuggets of wisdom to share when it comes to CV writing. So we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of common CV mistakes to avoid.

Ready? Let’s go…

6 of the most common CV mistakes to avoid

1. Using the same CV for all your applications

Chances are you’re applying for lots of different career opportunities within a similar field. But are you using the same CV to apply for all of those opportunities? Every time you submit your CV, you should be tweaking it to incorporate the key skills advertised in the job advert.

Sure, you can use the same base CV for all of those career opportunities, but every employer is going to be looking for something slightly different. So it’s vital you tailor your CV to what they’re looking for. If the employer is looking for outbound business development experience, make sure your CV screams ‘outbound business development experience’.

Now if you’re getting really wild with your career switch and are applying for opportunities in fields that don’t bear any resemblance to one another, you’ll want to create a separate base CV for each of those fields before tailoring them. For example, one base CV for hospitality, and another for sales.

2. Writing in paragraphs, not bullet points

When writing your CV, avoid paragraphs at all costs. From the hiring manager’s point of view, paragraphs are a nightmare and a complete eye sore. No hiring manager wants to read through long, chunky paragraphs of text.

Make their life easier and keep them engaged for longer with bullet points that are easily scannable.

3. Not accounting for gaps in your CV

Got employment gaps of more than 3 months in your CV? Long gaps in your CV can be a red flag for employers when they’re not accounted for.

So whatever the reason for your break, make sure you include a short line to account for the missing time. Whether you were caring for a sick relative, or you took a career break to travel, don’t leave it as a guessing game.

4. Being too long-winded

We’re sure you’ve got a long list of achievements to talk about from your career, but your CV isn’t the place for that. You don’t need to include every last detail about every career you’ve had. Condense your CV down to 2 pages and only include the most relevant achievements and experiences to the job.

Remember, your CV is just to get you an interview. The interview is your opportunity to go into detail about your entire career.

5. Having a generic personal statement

Your personal statement is the opening sentences at the top of your CV that introduce you and your experience.

A lot of people make the mistake of writing generic sentences that don’t really tell the employer much about the person. The aim is to sell yourself and entice the hiring manager to read on. You want to make your statement so powerful that it’s impossible for the hiring manager NOT to read on.

Here’s an example of a generic personal statement for a senior sales position:

“I’m a hard-working and self-motivated individual with 10 years experience working in sales. I am seeking a role in sales with an immediate start.”

This personal statement doesn’t exactly scream passionate, and doesn’t entice the hiring manager to read on because we know very little about the candidate.

Let’s take a look at the next example of a personal statement:

“An accomplished senior sales manager with 10 years experience in international B2B sales in the FinTech sector, managing teams of upto 80 sales people. I’m passionate about achieving growth, and now seeking a new challenge within FinTech sales management, helping a smaller business to scale up."

This personal statement, on the other hand, gives good tangible pieces of information that hook the hiring manager in, without overwhelming them with too much information.

How to write a good personal statement

  • Include your years’ experience
  • Specify the industries you’ve worked in
  • Highlight relevant experience
  • Carefully select the words you use to describe yourself (avoid generic words like ‘hard-working’ and ‘self-motivated’
  • Mention the sort of company you’d like to be working for and why (tailor this to the company you’re applying to)

6. Not using tangible examples

It’s all well and good writing about how you’re an excellent salesperson or you’re great at multitasking, but if you’re not backing up your claims with tangible examples then you’re doing yourself a disservice… and your CV will quickly fall into the reject pile.

To demonstrate your ability, get specific. You can reference numbers and targets, or talk about particular projects you’ve worked on. Always remember to mention what benefit this had for the wider business too.

We know writing a CV can feel like a slog, but if you’re serious about making a career move, it’s worth taking the time to perfect and tailor your CV to each of your applications to land that special role.

Are you in the process of making a career switch? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your CV here and we’ll be in touch with any relevant opportunities.

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