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11 things that will make recruiters reject your application immediately

11 things that will make recruiters reject your application immediately

by Karin Singh 09/04/2018

I have seen lots of CVs in the past: CV templates on the internet, CV samples in career books and real CVs from international jobseekers who approached me for getting a makeover. The most recent CV which I got my hands on had a length of 5 pages(!). The surprising thing about that CV was the fact that it came from a student!

Yes, a Vietnamese medical student who was applying for a summer internship position at a forward-thinking medical institution in the USA. I must say, I was impressed of what this candidate had to offer. It was clear – right from the beginning – that he was fully aware of the importance of employee branding.

Every career guidance counselor would tell you to limit your CV to 2 pages, right? Well, in his case (by the way, his name was Minh) I told him that his five pages would be fine since his CV included a list of research papers that got published in well-known magazines, and lots of volunteering and internship jobs which were important to back up his skills. After all, all his documentation was crucial to stand out and to land that highly sought-after internship job, which was offered to him shortly afterwards!

But let’s look at those factors that would usually tempt a recruiter to put your CV on the pile of non-selected candidates. What are really the big No-No’s?

· Submitting a handwritten CV (don’t laugh, I’ve seen also those!)

· Not presenting your CV with a clear structure and chronology (missing headlines, subheadings, relevant details, presenting different ways of employment dates, etc.)

· Missing relevant contact details (if you don’t mention your phone number or email address how is a recruiter supposed to get in touch with you?)

· Coffee stains on your sheets of paper (if you submit it online you don’t have to worry about that at least!)

· Irrelevant details throughout your CV

· Not having customized your CV to the company and the specific job position. Believe me, a recruiter or career guidance counsellor can tell the difference and that’s one of the biggest mistakes that jobseekers make!

· A too general profile description/career summary at the beginning. This part is crucial because if the recruiter loses already his interest at the beginning, it is unlikely that he will reach the end of the second page of your CV. Be articulate and focus on the relevant things that promote you as a suitable candidate.

· Having listed all your job duties, but no mention about your career achievements so far. What do you think sounds better on your CV and would really catch a recruiter’s eye?

Option 1:
“I planned events”
Option 2:
“I raised € 60,000 by selling out concert tickets to a 260-people charity event”


If you believe in the power of employee branding, then there is no doubt that option 2 would be the more impressive and more memorable way to highlight your job responsibilities. Why? Because it doesn’t just describe what you did in the past, but also what you achieved in all your jobs by mentioning quantifiable results.

Always remember a job duty just tells a recruiter what you did, but it’s the achievement that tells a Hiring Manager how WELL you carried out your job duties. Learn the difference! It might not always be easy to turn your job duties into achievements, but try to make an effort to express in more detail the contribution you made to a company. That’s what will catch the reader’s attention. Believe me, it’s worthwhile and can make all the difference. Need any help? If you go for some career counselling for experienced professionals, you will get some useful advice on how you can revamp your CV to increase your chances to land the job.

· Listing personal interests that are not related to the job at all (some candidates try to use their hobbies to fill the two pages on their CV, don’t make the same mistake!).

· Grammar or spelling mistakes (always important, but particularly for those jobs where immaculate writing is expected!). It sounds obvious, but approaching someone else to have an additional look at your CV, might help you to spot mistakes that you might have overlooked.

· Poorly worded content. Another CV that I came across some time ago was written in poor English and made my job even more difficult because there where parts which made very little sense. Remember, if the language you are applying in, is not your native language, it’s even more important to go for some career counselling for experienced professionals to make sure your CV doesn’t land in the pile of rejected applicants.

If you want to take your employee branding serious, make sure your CV offers the following:
no mistakes, a clear structure, is customised to company and job position, includes past career achievements, offers relevant information, is neatly presented and ideally doesn’t exceed the 2 pages (but it depends on the job position).

If you need any help in writing your CV from scratch, or if you need to re-write it or give it a total makeover, get in touch with one of Talentese’s career guidance counselors. Take advantage of their expertise and let them help you to impress your next employer. Always bear in mind, the more information you provide, the better outcome you can expect. Good luck!

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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