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Why do I keep getting rejected from job applications?

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Many job seekers ask themselves "Why do I keep getting rejected from job applications?" even though they meet all the requirements of the job advert. You might have the required education, experience and examples of how you have delivered value and overcome issues but guess what - there is a secret to getting shortlisted and landing interviews.


Although Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been around in their basic form since the 1990's the recruitment industry really went through a digital transformation when LinkedIn launched in 2002. This symbolised a transition point in the management of the recruitment process. Human Resource Technology has evolved dramatically since then and it's estimated that over 98% of enterprise-level organisations use ATS to streamline recruitment processes.


"98% of Fortune 500 companies and at least 66% of large companies use it. The adoption rate for small companies is lower, but growing quickly. Last year, it was estimated that 35% of small organizations use ATS". Source: Workforcehub


Basically, jobs are created in the central recruitment platform and then pushed out and advertised on job boards, career pages and LinkedIn. Candidates then submit their application, which is automatically categorised and ranked by the ATS software algorithm. Recruiters access candidate profiles, evaluate applications (accepting and rejecting) and decide who should continue in the process. After that, the selected applicants are interviewed, and some ate offered the job. It's often the first hurdle where most applicants fall - the categorisation and ranking...


I've been helping Executives, Managers and Engineers since 2008 with professional CV / Resume Writing and the most common problematic trends are:


  • Non-compliant layouts that use sidebars to split pages (I call this a creative style CV / Resume) and believe me they do not perform well in ATS scans- It's best to use a simple left-aligned layout with clear titles and reverse chronological order. I suggest you read my article "how to beat applicant tracking systems" to learn more.


  • 𝓕𝓪𝓷𝓬𝔂 𝓕𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓼 and Sᴍᴀʟʟ Cᴀᴘs - Don't use any fonts that you've downloaded from the web and definitely don't use Small Caps. Stick with common fonts and styles.


  • Non-compliant formats like Pages, PowerPoint or other graphics software (Canva, Trello). You should develop your CV with Microsoft Word and save to PDF (Best for electronic distribution).


  • Non Specific Keywords. I review so many CVs / Resumes and most include cliche statements and soft skills that are non-specific and don't tell the ATS or human reader what knowledge, experience or skillsets the candidate actually has. These keywords need to be relevant and specific to the role you are applying for. I suggest using Teal to analyse job descriptions and identify the keywords they are looking for.


Of course, there are many other elements to factor in when writing a modern CV / Resume, including SEO best practice, psychology of reading, hypnotic writing, influential sales techniques, and using SAR stories to demonstrate your business value.


If you're reading this and feel that you need help re-writing your CV / Resume feel free to connect with me. I offer a range of packages for Executives, Managers and Engineers to help get your career back on track.

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