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Why your candidate’s CV is being ignored

By Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library


When your candidates have finally perfected their CV and started applying to jobs, there’s nothing more frustrating than a wall of silence from employers in return. When weeks pass and they’re still waiting for a positive response, it’s easy for job hunters to become disheartened. The good news is that there is a way to fix it; by passing this advice on to your candidates, they should start to see a difference.


By helping them to identify why their CV and applications are being ignored, they can use this information to their advantage, ironing out any creases and strengthening the areas where they may be lacking. Generally speaking, there is a list of common job hunting mistakes; encouraging your candidate to take steps to overcome these will often result in their job search picking up and looking more fruitful.


Make a lasting first impression

If your candidate is attaching a cover letter to their application or CV, it’s essential to get it right. A poorly written cover letter can do irreparable damage to an application; it’s true what they say – first impressions count!


Make sure the relationship gets off to a good start by ensuring that your candidate addresses the employer by name – with platforms such as LinkedIn available, it’s much easier to find out exactly who you need to speak to within a company – so you should advise them to ditch the ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ introduction wherever possible.


The cover letter should get straight to the point; it should only be a couple of paragraphs long at the most, and it should be used to sum up their suitability for the role. By highlighting any key skills and experience, employers will be able to see exactly who your candidate is, what they can offer, and why they’d be right for the role.


Tailor each CV

While each CV is likely to be tailored to the general industry that your candidate is intending to work in, this is no longer enough to grab an employer’s attention; you should ensure that every CV sent out is tailored to the specific job in question.


Make a note of any key words in the job description, and pay attention to any specific skills or qualifications required; it’s crucial that these appear prominently on the CV, so that any employer looking at your candidate’s CV sees immediately that they’d be a good match for the job.


Get the structure right

If they’ve got all the necessary skills for the job, the last thing anyone wants is for the layout and structure of their CV to trip them up. Once all the necessary information is included, make sure it’s been saved in a way that’s easy to access and open; saving each CV as a PDF is a simple way to avoid the inevitable PC/Mac formatting nightmare!


Check that the text is clear and concise, and that it’s broken up with bullet points and separate sections where possible; hiring managers are busy people, and a CV with huge blocks of text isn’t easy to digest, meaning it’s likely to land in the bin without so much as a look over.


Essentially, the easier your candidate makes it for employers to read and take in their CV, the more likely they are to win them over.


Demonstrate their worth

A key mistake often made by candidates is that they don’t prove their value to potential employers; while using a CV to highlight previous responsibilities is important, it’s also essential that they include the impact that this had on their previous employer.


For example, if one of their key tasks was making outbound sales calls, this should be included on their CV; but you should make sure that they also include why they did this, and the results this action achieved. This is one of the easiest ways that your candidates can demonstrate their worth to a potential employer; by emphasising key results such as revenue generated or naming any key clients that they helped to secure, this should help them to stand out.


While this may not be possible for every point on their CV, you should encourage this approach where possible; it really could make all the difference.


Connect on LinkedIn

Gone are the days where having a LinkedIn presence is optional; if your candidates want to stand out in their job hunt and build up a strong network, connecting on professional platforms such as LinkedIn is essential.


Even if they’ve applied to a job and were unsuccessful, connecting with the recruiter or employer on LinkedIn is a great way to ensure that they stay on their radar. You should encourage your candidates to send the employer in question a personalised introduction when they’re asking to connect; this may even lead to a new set of eyes looking over their CV. Furthermore, you should ensure that your candidate keeps their profile information up to date, particularly if they’re volunteering or training to acquire new skills whilst job hunting.


Follow up

If you want to guarantee that your candidate is getting the most out of their job hunt, it’s important to ensure that they regularly follow up with the hiring manager after they’ve sent off their application. If they’re putting time and effort into finding the ideal job and creating a perfect CV and cover letter, you should make sure that they don’t let the application drop off the radar as soon as it’s been sent out.


The truth is that there are a variety of reasons that employers don’t get back to candidates straight away, and it’s important to remind your candidates that it doesn’t always mean they’ve been rejected! If they haven’t heard back after a few days, encourage them to follow up with a polite email or phone call, and ask if they’ve had a chance to look over the application.

If they’re not getting back to you or your candidate, it could simply be that they’ve accidentally been overlooked; following up with the employer can be a great way to boost their chances of being shortlisted and making it to the interview stage.


The reality is that recruiters and employers are busy people, and that competition for jobs is high, so if you’re finding that your candidates’ CVs are being ignored, or they feel like their job hunt is at a dead end, it may be time to offer some advice and encourage them to implement some of these changes, and ensure that their CV is the best that it can be.


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