6 Reasons You Didn’t Get Shortlisted For An Interview

It could be that you’re quite happy in your current role or maybe you have been job searching for months. In either case, when you come across the perfect role that looks like the job description has been created just for you, you’re quite excited! This is the ONE!

You enthusiastically prepare your CV and cover letter and email it to the recruiter.

And then you wait.

And wait…

Weeks go by and still you hear nothing. How odd because you are perfect for that role, you have all the right skills, experience, and techniques to fit that job. You wonder why you haven’t had so much as a screening call, never mind an invitation for an interview. You call the recruiter to find out what is happening and find out that the company has already shortlisted and you were not selected.

Could it be that when you prepared your CV you left out some key details or didn’t quite check it through properly?

As recruiters we know how tough it can be to get your CV noticed, here are 6 reasons why your CV didn’t get noticed:

1. CV Buzzwords

Remember that recruiters and employers can receive hundreds of applications per job advertised so it can be impossible for them to trawl through every CV sent. Most recruiters and employers will scan CVs quickly looking for buzzwords that match techniques, standards, skills, and competencies that are listed in the job advert. To attract the attention of the reader immediately you need to use the right buzzwords that truthfully match the job advert. For example, a job advert for a life science role might contain skills, standards, and techniques such as HPLC, GC, GC-MS, FT-IR, PCR. ELISA, Cell Culture, qPCR, LCMS, ICP, DSC, AA or Viscosity. Be sure to list all relevant skills in your work experience and if you do not have experience but completed assignments at university  – list these in your CV.

2. Your CV is difficult to read or contains spelling mistakes

The appearance of your CV is your first chance to make a good impression, so take care to put your best work forward. Run a spell check over your CV or ask a trusted friend to read over it and give you feedback. It is also sensible to double-check your contact details to ensure your email address is spelt correctly and your phone number has the right number of digits in the right order, so when you have followed this advice you are able to receive the good news that you have been shortlisted.

3. Long periods of unexplained unemployment

There are many reasons you may have been out of work for a while; illness or injury; child-rearing; a redundancy inspired gap year or caring for a loved one. If you have been out of work for a while, make sure you explain the reasons why in your application. You can either put this explanation in your cover letter, where you can go into brief details of any periods of unemployment or within your work history so the information is immediately available to the reader.

4. Unexplained short stints in numerous jobs

Again, there can be lots of reasons why you may have had lots of short-term jobs as opposed to long stretches with one employer. Unexplained, this can ring alarm bells for employers who want to hire someone who will be able to bring stability to a role. If you have genuine reasons for multiple short periods of employment, make sure you address these in your cover letter. Take advantage of the opportunity to put all the information you want a potential employer to know in front of them while you can.

5. You haven’t tailored your application to the specific role you are applying for

Tailoring a CV and cover letter can be time-consuming, especially if you are applying for lots of jobs. There are a couple of ways to combat this problem. Firstly, become more selective about which jobs you apply for. Only apply for jobs that you are genuinely interested in. This will free up more time to spend on maximising the impact of applications for jobs you are really passionate about. Secondly, utilise the summary at the top of your CV to add in a couple of sentences or points that relate specifically to the job you are applying for. This will show potential employers that you have put some thought into your application. Make sure you address some of the job specification criteria in your cover letter and address any of the relevant points above.

6. You didn’t contact the recruiter after submitting your CV

As mentioned in point 1, recruiters and employers get a lot of CVs sent per role, it can be impossible to read every CV. To ensure your CV is noticed, contact the recruiter or employer via phone to check that they received your CV the day after you sent it. This will lead to a short conversation about your skills and relevancy to the role. It will also mean that they have definitely seen your CV and will be more likely to consider you for the role. It’s always good to put a voice to a CV.

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into areas where you can improve your job applications to give yourself the best chance of getting the job.

A good idea is also to engage with a recruiter, a specialist in your chosen field, who can help you with your job search. This means you will have somebody who can review your CV and actively search and put you forward for opportunities, doubling your chances of success. Contact one of our recruiters here.

You may also like to read:

How to write a specialist cover letter

CV writing advice

Be selective with your CV

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