10 reasons why your application gets dismissed.

1 minute read | 15 September 2022
Are you tired of sending application after application to job prospects and hearing nothing back?
While it is common to not have a 100% response rate from hiring managers, there are methods to increase your success rate in either feedback or an invitation for a job interview.

Your CV and cover letter may just need a few adjustments, but there are other things you can do to make a great impression.
As your career partner for life, we are dedicated in helping you create the future you want.
Here, we shall discuss the reasons why your application may be ignored, and how to fix that.

When employers post a job opening, they are usually met with an influx of resumes. 
These can range from hopeful prospects to spam applications from people who are applying to everything and hoping something will stick.
Finding the right candidate for the role is also a huge task, as employers will have to sift through quite a few CV’s before narrowing down the strongest contenders. 
With this in mind, it is in your best interest to imagine yourself in this position and what you would like to see when reviewing an application. 

Many applications get immediately tossed because from first glance, it is clear either the candidate is not correct for the role, or the application is poorly presented.

 
1. Poor presentation.

Presentation counts for a lot when submitting a resume. From the get-go, it displays an eye for detail, and a considered approach when displaying information in an easily digestible way. Having a refined format and readable font, lets the employer know you value professionalism and organisation. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated – a rule of thumb is to keep it simple.
When it comes to your CV, displaying your details, such as name and contact details should be near the top of the page (including a professional sounding email), followed by a list of ascending work experience and achievements, starting with your most recent role. 
More information on how to create the perfect CV template can be found here.

In a written application such as a cover letter, the general rule is to keep it to one page and remember to run a spell check afterwards. Break up the text using paragraphs and tailor your application to the specific role in mind. 
We wrote an article on how to craft a killer stand-out cover letter here.

2. The first paragraph is not appealing enough.

How you address the hiring team is extremely important. If you start your cover letter with “hello” or “hi”, it is too casual. To show respect, it is best to begin your letter with “Dear Sir/Madam/Hiring team.” Even better, if you find out the name of the person in charge of hiring, then you can use their name, to show you have done your research and to make it more personal.
To leave a lasting impression, you need to capture their attention. Use the first paragraph to outline your goals and what draws you to the role. Take it as an opportunity to get creative in how you present yourself, while keeping it professional. Hiring managers can usually tell when an application has been sent multiple times – as it is usually either vague, or not specific to the role. By tailoring your cover letter and referring to projects that they have displayed on their website, it shows you are serious about working for them.

3. Not specific to the role.

It could be that you are simply not qualified for the role or lack experience – but if you feel like this isn’t the case, then perhaps you can change the way you specify your experiences to the job opening.
If your previous employment descriptions are too vague, it makes it harder for the hiring team to understand what you can bring to the new role. You need to be descriptive and show your skills in a clear way. Think about the language you are using, when outlining your responsibilities. Swap out generic words like the following:

  • Responsible for - Executed
  • Worked on – Created
  • Helped – Collaborated
  • Managed – Directed
  • Recruited – Mentored
  • Planned – Conceptualised

Tailoring relevant skills in your application according to the role, will show employers that you are the perfect match. Leave out anything that is not appropriate for the specific job you are applying for – you do not have to include every little detail, only the relevant ones!

4. Gaps in employment and inconsistent dates.

Gaps in employment doesn’t always mean bad news. There can be many reasons for this happening, such as health/medical, going back into education/training, caring for family members, you were laid off or taking time to relocate and find new work.
Either way it is crucial that you have an explanation for any long gaps between jobs.
Be honest, without going into too much detail, as it can be very personal. Explain how getting back into work is your top priority, but you are being selective about which company you’d like to join – that way you sound like a desirable job seeker who is looking for the best fit, long term.

5. Social media behaviour.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make, when it comes to their social media is having an account which makes you look unprofessional. Obviously, you are entitled to have your online space, but it is in your best interest long-term, that you refrain from posting anything too personal or inappropriate. A certain level of etiquette online is required, especially in this day and age, where it is easy to search and look into people. 
That being said, if hiring managers cannot find you online 21% of them reported that they wouldn’t consider an application because of this. Certain industries regard this as more important than others, which is why it is always good to do your own research.
You are entitled to have a private online life, but if you have multiple channels such as a LinkedIn profile, this is an ideal way to show your professionalism while keeping your Instagram and Facebook profiles private. 
Regarding Linkedin, if your information about past employment is inconsistent with what is presented on your CV, this is usually a huge red flag for employers. 

6. Lacking the correct application requirements.

Providing the right materials as requested in the job description can show the employer that you can follow direction, and you took the time to personalise your application to the job.
If you submit something which doesn’t include all the credentials, this is a sure way to get your application immediately rejected.
Be sure to read through the job description and requirements carefully before applying.

7. Competitive job market.

The reason why you may not be hearing back from anyone could simply be because of the competition. Therefore it is important to not only make your application stand out, but also apply at the right time.
Consider applying to vacancies which have been posted within the week, so you get in early.
Be sure to research the industry and company efficiently, so you have a better idea of the type of candidate they are looking for. LinkedIn is a great way to discover who is working at the company as well as being helpful in introducing yourself through their InMail facilities.
Sometimes, the way to beat the competition is to go a step further and message the hiring team directly, to open the conversation and show how serious you are about working for them.

8. Not bespoke.

Hiring managers receive hundreds of applications per job listing, so they have a keen eye for spam applications. When you submit a “one size fits all” application there will likely be information on it, which is irrelevant to the job description.
Recruiters want to see that you can take in important information and see that your skills match the role they have advertised.
Read through their requirements at least 2-3 times before customising your cover letter or application. By providing a bespoke application just for them, you show that you are serious about working for them.

Utilise key words in your CV before submitting. A lot of recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which scan applications before they are even seen by the hiring manager.
It works by matching relevant information to the job requirements, so if the job description asks for leaderships skills and good communication, be sure to include this in your application.


Make sure your work experiences match up to the skills they are looking for. Remember, you do not have to include every little detail, only the relevant ones!

9. Came in second.

You do not always know how far your application progressed during the process. It could be a case of simply coming up against multiple job seekers who were exactly what the recruiters are looking for. Sometimes it comes down to luck verses the amount of interest in the job opening. Read up on our articles on how to polish your CV and cover letter, to help increase your chances of a job interview.

10. Late submission.

If you are applying for roles which were posted on the jobs board a month or so ago, it could be possible the company is no longer looking and they have left the call out online, way past its deadline. Tailor your search for job listings which have been posted within the week in order to increase your chances of your application being received and considered.
Be sure to not rush your application though – remember that tailoring your application leads to a higher success rate.

Candidates who apply sooner can benefit from having their CV considered before the ones that come in afterwards. As we mentioned, hiring managers can be faced with a wave of applications which don’t always align with what they are seeking. This is a great opportunity to show your relevant skills and put yourself above the rest.

For more careers advice on how to make yourself stand out as an ideal candidate, take a look at the rest of our articles!

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