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  • Writer's picturePenny Langstaff

6 Reasons You Didn't Get Shortlisted For an Interview

Job searching and why you aren't getting shortlisted - Blog by

Applying for jobs and either not hearing back or receiving a “sorry, you haven’t been successful” email? It could be that one or more of the following could be why:

  1. You're applying for roles that aren't really a good "fit" Are you looking at every aspect of the job when applying? For example, are you clearly under or over qualified? Does the role provide you with opportunities to expand your skills and experience and if not, have you explained in your cover letter why you're interested? Is the company and industry sector of interest? Will you need flexible work times because it's a significant distance from home and you want to avoid traffic? It's definitely worth taking time to read and interpret job ads and be selective with your applications.

  2. Your CV wasn’t adapted for the job you applied for Using the same “master” CV or Resume when applying for jobs will have a big impact on the success of your application. Job titles may be similar, but each company has their own unique set of requirements, so it’s essential to pick out key competencies /skills / experience from the ad and make sure those words are in your CV or Resume – assuming you have them of course!

  3. Your CV or Resume is full of mistakes or difficult to read There’s nothing more off-putting to a recruiter or manager than seeing a CV with spelling mistakes or one that’s got so much information crammed into a small space that it’s impossible to read. Run a spell-check before applying, check your contact information is up to date and set out your information using bullet points and/or headings so that it’s easy to read.

  4. You’ve got gaps in your CV that aren’t explained Companies get nervous when they see a gap in employment history. It may be that you went on an OE, took time out to look after a sick relative or had a sabbatical. There’s no issue with having a break between jobs, but make sure you cover it off in your employment history section or in a cover letter.

  5. Your employment history shows quite a few short-term jobs Seeing a CV with a relatively large number of short-term jobs can often make companies nervous about how committed you’d be to their permanent role should you be successful. Make sure you specify if any of the jobs were contracts or outline the reasons for the short-term nature of the employment where possible.

  6. You didn’t include a cover letter or the one you sent didn’t “sell” you for the job Not every company requires a cover letter, but if they do, they’ll be looking at it as closely as your CV or Resume for accuracy and relevance. It needs to be correctly addressed, explain why you’re applying for the job and outline which specific skills and experience you’d bring to the role. One page should be sufficient and it should be easy to read. As with your CV or Resume, the cover letter should be adapted for each application and should never be a generic document - or worse still, be one you used for another job that you haven’t bothered to change!

These are just some of the reasons you may not be hearing back but if you take your time selecting appropriate roles, ensure your CV or Resume and cover letter is adapted to match the job ad and you know it's a company you'd really like to work for, then you should hopefully start to see more positive responses to your job applications. Need help with any of the above? Get in touch or read some of the testimonials from people I've already worked with to turn their applications from unsuccessful to successful!

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