Are you concerned your job applications keep landing in the reject pile? Unless you’re able to make a great first impression, employers aren’t going to be interested in inviting you to an interview. Don’t fear, to improve your chances, there are certain mistakes you can avoid.
Understanding why your job applications keep failing is an important step to reaching a job offer. Here are seven reasons why you might be struggling, and what you should do to turn around your job search:
1. Your CV is too long
Hiring managers have a limited time to read through each job application and often scan each application to decide whether to shortlist a candidate for an interview. The information on your CV should be clear, concise, relevant and easily digestible – otherwise, they may just move on to the next application. When writing an effective CV, it should be no longer than two pages, including only salient details which are relevant to the job description.
2. You submit a generic cover letter
If you've made no effort to tailor your cover letter to the job application in question, why should any hiring manager bother to read it? This is an opportunity to market yourself and bring to light the salient information in your CV. It's crucial that your cover letter relates why your skills and experiences on your CV are similar to the job description as well as how you can add value. Four short paragraphs should be sufficient length to get your point across.
3. Your CV isn’t job-specific
There is a common misconception that your CV can remain the same while only tailoring a cover letter. Every job requires various skills, and while one job may be looking for a specific skill, another may look for another. This is why it’s important to read a job description carefully, cross-referencing what is being asked for, and what skills you can provide.
4. You forego structure in your CV
It doesn't take long to prepare a professional, structured-looking CV. If you struggle with the layout elements, you can always use a CV template to assist you. Make sure you include all the required information in the right order, on a document that is well laid-out and easy on the eye.
5. You include errors
Spelling, grammar and formatting errors are unforgivable, full stop. Give yourself time to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's – if you've failed to do so, this may be one reason why your job applications keep failing. Take the time to proof read your CV, otherwise it suggests you are lazy or simply a low-calibre candidate. If you need help checking for errors, have a friend or family member review your cover letter and CV before you click 'send' or put your application in the post.
6. You miss the deadline
It goes without saying that if you miss the deadline for submitting your CV, you can't expect the hiring manager to consider your application. If you can’t manage your time, then it suggests you may have poor time management skills. If you struggle to meet this deadline, who’s to say how many other deadlines you might miss after you have been employed.
7. You don’t ask for feedback
If your job applications keep failing, and you’re still wondering why you are not being asked to any interviews, have you considered asking for feedback? If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Besides, what have you got to lose? People rarely ask for feedback, but it is always viewed as a positive sign when people do as it shows genuine interest, not only in their position, but also that you are looking to improve. By taking the initiative to ask, you may find there are other opportunities available that are more suited to you.
For more tips on developing your career or to start looking for your next job visit Robert Half’s News & Insights.