Unsuccessful job application? | Helping you understand job rejections and how to fine tune you CV/Resume

How to learn from Resume/CV rejections

Rejection is only a negative if you don't learn from it, and being able to accept and learn from knock-backs is the attitude of champions. Whilst rejections come in all shapes and sizes, if you are regularly receiving a “thanks but no thanks” email, and you believe your CV/Resume is up to scratch, then answer can often be found in the feedback you receive.

1) Rejection: "Over experienced"

Over experience often applies to resumes or CV's that display an excess of skill sets and / or professional education. Although this shouldn't be a negative, potential employers are likely to become confused and moreover, concerned as to the true meaning of your application.

Putting it simply, there's no point in forwarding an application that's suitable for the position of "Chief Executive - Virgin Airlines" when the employer is only seeking an "Administration Manager for John Smith Shoes!"

But does this mean you should strip your resume clean and basically "dumb down" your resume?

The answer is - "probably not," but your resume does need to be re-aligned with the role you apply to..

Ensure that transferable technical skills can be clearly identified, and at least 85% of your current technical skills relate to the position being advertised as it is today, not what they may require tomorrow.

2) Rejection: "Wrong culture fit"

To avoid any confusion, the phrase "wrong culture fit" doesn't relate to ethnicity. It's also worth noting that this phrase is used laterally and often requires a greater analysis to isolate the true meaning of the rejection.

So, how can they tell whether you're the right culture fit without even meeting you? This is a question that may confuse some resume writers. The solution tends to lie within one of several possibilities:-

  • Too much focus on one particular industry niche
  • Too much focus on technical specifics
  • Not enough or too much corporate experience
  • Resume appears too high or low impact
  • Resume is too general.

This objection can easily be overcome if the resume displays clear transferable skills and competency based values - elements which are critical to the success of any application. These help focus the reader on like-for-like skills and transferable qualities.

3) Rejection: Wrong industry fit

This feedback is very similar to "wrong culture fit" and often applies to candidates who have either worked in one particular industry field, or have no suitable industry exposure. 

Always be mindful of providing a resume that can be deemed too technically specific. Once again, this comes down to understanding core competencies and being able to demonstrate these on a resume to work alongside technical attributes. Remember, job seekers switch industries regularly so although you may be facing a wall, if you prepare well you can always discover the door!

Need a little extra help?

Useful Reading:

Why you should consider tailoring your CV/Resume to each role
Why your Resume/CV content needs to be at least 80% relevant to the job
Will your job still be around in 2023?


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