top of page

10 reasons why your job application failed

An agonizing part of job search is having to face rejections, sometimes for months on end without even getting shortlisted for a preliminary interview. It may seem that no matter what you do, your job applications do not gather any positive result.

Have you ever been in this position and wondered what went wrong in the job application process?

Here are some of the common reasons why your job application was rejected.

1. CV not tailored for the role

Sending out a general CV for every role is not a good strategy. Apart from streamlining your job search to roles you are genuinely interested in, candidates must tailor their CV to fit the role. It is also important to structure your CV well, with the most recent work experience on top. Hiring managers say they spend about 30 seconds on a candidate’s resume or CV, before deciding whether the candidate will go ahead in the recruitment process.

2. Typos

Nobody wants to read a text riddled with typos, let alone a hiring manager who is looking for the best candidate. Spelling errors can be a huge turn off, especially if you applied for a writing or marketing role in which drafting good copies is part of your job. Re-read your CV and cover letter before sending it out.

3. Wrong CV template

When career coaches and trainers insist that the candidate not choose a boring CV template, it does not mean that the template should be over-the-top and graphic-heavy. Make sure to choose a simple, yet eye-catching template.

4. Poorly-written cover letter

A well-written cover letter can make all the difference in your job search process. Once the hiring manager looks at your resume, the next document they consider is the motivation or cover letter.

Make sure to keep the letter brief and to-the-point, ideally limited to a page, definitely not exceeding two pages. Instead of repeating your CV, write about your motivations for applying for the job and how you can use your existing skills to perform the job well.

5. Cover letter addressed to the wrong company

This one could look really bad, there’s no easy way to say this. One of the many downsides of copy-pasting your cover letter or motivation letter is that you forget to edit the letter and end up addressing it to the wrong company. This is something the candidates usually overlook and can cost them their perfect role.

6. Pay attention to name of the file

Recruitment process pre and post Covid-19 pandemic involve sending out the application documents on an e-mail or directly applying on the company’s website. At this stage, be aware of the name of the files you attach because it reflects heavily on the kind of person you are. Make sure to follow a standard format to name your files, for instance: <Last name_first name_company name_CV>

Trust us, you don’t want to send out your CV with a name like this: <cvnew>

This is an error that is likely to ruin the hiring manager’s impression of you.

7. Applicant Tracking System

Chances are that your resume or CV goes past an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk. This is when your poorly written and badly structured resume is likely to cost you. Use the keywords and phrases from the job description in your CV to ensure there’s a better chance of the ATS picking up your CV. It is definitely unfortunate if the ATS algorithm decides you’re not a fit for the job before an actual human gets a chance to look at your CV.

8. No transferable skills

A failure to highlight your transferable skills may be a mistake you’re committing unknowingly. These are skills that are required in every job and something you picked up over the years working in different roles. For instance, problem solving, critical thinking, management, communications and relationship building are some of the transferable skills companies are always looking for. If you are someone who is looking to reorient your career or even expand your scope, focusing on transferable skills can take you places! This can also be a good way to highlight your internship and volunteering experience.

9. You did not follow instructions

Did you read only the requirements and skip the introduction and the conclusion of a job posting? These sections may have important information such as who you should address your cover letter to, or that you should send your applications as a single PDF document to a certain e-mail address. Say you found the job listing on LinkedIn and hit easy apply without reading these key information, you end up being a candidate who did not follow the necessary steps to qualify for the recruitment process.

10. Not a match for the role

Sometimes, despite doing everything right, you may just not be the right fit for the role or there may be someone else who is. If this is the case, you need to refocus your job search and apply to only those roles in which you fulfill at least 70% of the job description.

We hope this article helps you get an idea of what to look out for when applying for a job so that you get better results!

bottom of page