Why doesn't my CV fit?

You may well see an advertisement online or a job description that you feel is the ‘perfect’ fit for you and your experience, only to find that you get no answer from the company (and assume that you have been unsuccessful) or a rejection stating that other candidates have come forward whose experience and background is more in line with their needs….

So why didn’t your CV fit?
There may be several reasons for this including the fact that you are, in fact, not suitable. However, there are a number of things you can do to help get your CV through the initial application process and out of the ‘unsuitable’ folder.

What are they looking for?
You will never know exactly what the Hiring Manager is looking for, but you can second guess quite a lot from the text of the advert and job description. Generally, the organisation will have around 6-10 ‘must have’ key areas relevant to the experience and background they are looking for.

These ’must haves’ or ‘keywords’ could include for example:

  • Currently (or recently) working in their sector
  • Solid experience of similar/the same products or services
  • A knowledge of their customer base
  • Ability and experience to manage a team/operation of the same size and complexity
  • Ability and experience to establish a new operation or facility
  • Experience of turning a company around in trouble…and so on.

The key is to read the advert/description carefully and pick out these key areas and then ensure they are prominent on your CV and your covering letter/email – providing of course that you have done them!

Be upfront – if it asks for experience of selling appliances to commercial kitchens and you have done this then say so – do not assume that they should know that the company you work for is a competitor.

Keyword Searches
Your CV may be read by the Hiring Manager, Line Manager, Recruitment Consultant or an Assistant who been told to sift the CV’s and pick out those that match their requirements (the list of 6-10 must haves). Today, it is likely to be scanned by software looking for these key areas.

Have many CV’s
So do not rely on just one generic CV, rewrite it for each job you apply for – this is so easy to do, but seldom is. A word of warning though – try not to ‘see what you want to see’ from the advert/description, rather, be objective and honest about your ‘fit’.

In our experience the majority of clients seek candidates who fit closely their requirements and can fit into the company immediately without extensive training: this means that they will try to look for those candidates doing a similar role in their sector. Some do indeed want ‘fresh eyes’ from outside of their sector but this is not overly common.

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Preparing your CV

Seven ways to improve your CV