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It’s dog eat dog out there in such a competitive marketplace for the top jobs, or any job!  If you are constantly getting the “Dear John” letter, maybe you aren’t portraying yourself right?  Here’s our take on why your CV is hitting the bin, not the jackpot.

You are not presenting yourself as a match

If your CV is not crystal clear, it is likely to hit the bin before it gets a second glance. Recruiters are receiving upwards of 50 applications for almost every role.   Your CV needs to be clear, targeted for the role and easy to quickly skim over.

  • Are your previous roles similar?
  • Do you have suitable transferrable skills?
  • Will you cut the mustard in this position or does your CV portray you as someone who would need a lot of training to bring up to speed?
  • Are you too overqualified and far too experienced for the role?

Your CV is a word jungle

Sure, you need to get across as much relevant information as possible to the recruiter, but do we really need to know every teeny weeny detail about your working life? No, we don’t. We aren’t silly.

There are certain skills that we know we can attribute to certain roles. If you were an administrator, we can make a calculated guess as to what many of your main duties would have been. Cut to the crunch, if there are higher duties that you have had, tell us, if you also got to assist in managing a project, tell us… if you un-stacked the dishwasher daily, save us the three seconds reading time. Please.

Here’s some key things to remember:

  • Big blocks of unstructured text are off-putting.
  • Don’t make the recruiter have to hunt through masses of text to find out key points, highlight them if you are a long-winded writer
  • Get someone to help you cull information that is not required in your first impression to your potential employer.

Your formatting is abysmal

Remember how we said big blocks of unstructured text are really draining. So is poor formatting! It really is simple, but only about 20% of people get it right. Here’s our tips:


  • Use headings (and for goodness sake, make sure they stand out)
  • Have some good whitespace to break it up
  • Use a splash of colour to liven things up (but remember, if they are printed it will likely be in black and white)
  • Highlight your skills and accomplishments
  • Have your name and phone number on each page, as well as page numbers
  • Make it easy to skim read

You’re allowing yourself to be judged

Sorry to tell you, but it happens! You want to get an interview based on your experience and skills, not on whether you can make awesome card houses. We have seen some really ‘different’ hobbies and interests, possibly things that might be best shared at a later date, if they get the job… perhaps. Let’s pose an idea. What if you are an avid gamer and you are going for a position that isn’t computer science related. Do you think your employer might make a generalisation that you might be tired and underperform at work as you have been up half of the night? What if you are newly married (you don’t have to declare your marital status, or age for that matter), do you think your potential employer might think they are in for parental leave within your first year or two of working for them? Food for thought!

You mug shot is a bit, well, not what they are expecting?

Unless you have a professional mug shot done and you think the role really calls for it, do you need a photo on your CV? We have seen plenty with facial piercings, ‘out there’ haircuts and plenty of photos where a potential employer has thought that the person wouldn’t be a good fit for their team based on a photo. If in doubt, leave it out. You just don’t know who will be reading your CV at the other end.

Obviously, we highly advocate you getting your CV professionally written. It is definitely a worthwhile minimal investment in what could lead you to your dream job. If you are still struggling after reading through our top tips, give us a call We can come up with the solution for you!  Click here to see how we can help.