38 Reasons Why Employers May Reject Your CV │

38 Reasons Why Employers May Reject Your CV

Welcome to Fasthire. Fasthire is the job board for entry-level and mid-level jobs. In this post, we’ll expose the top reasons why employers may reject your CV.

First impressions count when it comes to a job application. Especially as studies suggest that an average CV gets only 10-30 seconds to impress a recruiter.

If you’re wondering why your CV has not been getting you interviews, blame it on one or more of the reasons in this list.

Here are some of the reasons why employers may reject your CV.

CV Rejection 1: Missing ATS Keywords/Phrases

With the introduction of Applicant Tracking Systems, most applicant sorting is done using automated systems.

These systems are configured to search for specific keywords in an application; and, if your CV doesn’t score high in the ATS, the employers will consider you a poor match.

Therefore, when applying for a job, ensure you look out for specific keywords (skills, education level, qualification, etc) stated in the job advert and include them in your application.

CV Rejection 2: Using a Generic CV

This is one of the top reasons why employers may reject your CV. Once an employer sets eyes on a “general purpose CV,” they don’t hesitate to ignore it and move on.

Employers believe that candidates who write their CV for a particular position are more qualified for the position. It’s usually best practice to tailor your CV to match a specific job as it tells the employer that you’re serious about the position.

Tip: Avoid using one CV for all applications.

Reasons Why Employers May Reject Your CV

CV Rejection3: CV is Not Competitive

One way to make your CV competitive is to identify specific character traits, skills, and qualifications that an employer is looking out for and include them in your application.

Also, focusing more on information that isn’t relevant to the job will leave you with an average CV.

If you need assistance making your CV more competitive, you can get that here.

CV Rejection 4: Unexplained Employment Gaps

A candidate with an unexplained employment gap can easily be seen as an unemployable candidate.

For instance, employers can imagine that;

  • The candidate has failed previous interviews; and if that’s the case, why would they accept a candidate that others are rejecting?
  • If the candidate was a valuable prospect, he/she wouldn’t have been out of a job for a long time.

Tip: If you have an employment gap that will make recruiters raise their brows; state the reason(s) for the gap(s) in a footnote or your Cover Letter.

CV Rejection 5: Short Work Experience

Employers will be sceptical about accepting you if you have a relatively short professional experience for your level; especially, if your CV suggests that you’ve been frequently switching jobs.

Every employer wants a staff that will be committed to the vision of the organization, not someone that is unstable and can leave at any time; especially when the job in view is not an entry-level job.

Popular short work experience biases that make employers reject CVs;

  • The candidate is unstable.
  • The candidate could be troublesome hence past employers were quick to let him/her go.
  • The performance rate of the candidate is low else other employers won’t be willing to lose them to a competitor.

Tip: When crafting your CV, it’s not the number of experiences that count, but the number of “relevant experiences.”

CV Rejection 6: Lies and Misleading Information

Never lie on your CV! It’s no use claiming to be who you’re not, or having what you don’t.

What you have is enough to sell you. So, you don’t need made-up qualities, qualifications, and numbers, etc, to show that you are qualified for a position.

Tip: Honesty and trust mean more to an employer than skills and qualifications.

CV Rejection 7: Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Employers use the slightest mistakes to eliminate candidates. So, don’t allow spelling or grammar errors to deprive you of a job that you’re qualified for.

To prevent grammatical and spelling errors from disqualifying you for a job, ensure you;

  • Go through your CV several times after writing it.
  • Send it to your trusted friends or professional writers to help you proofread.
  • Read it again before applying for any job.

Tip: Reading a written content aloud helps you catch errors that you won’t catch when reading from your head.

CV Rejection 8: They’ve Already Hired Someone

Another reason why an employer won’t pay attention to your CV could be because they’ve hired someone already. This happens often; especially with urgent vacancies, via job boards.

For instance;

If company XYZ puts up a vacancy via a job website to run for 4 weeks, the job board is obligated to run that advert for the stipulated time. The irony is that, if the company gets a suitable candidate within 3 weeks, they won’t come back to the job board to tell them to put down the vacancy. Hence people will keep applying even when the company has hired someone.

Note: Most companies wait until the advert period has elapsed before they begin their sorting process.

CV Rejection 9: Not Attaching a Cover Letter

If a job application requests for a cover letter, by all means, attach one.

A cover letter will serve as a quick summary of your resume, while your CV will give a more in-depth information about your qualities and qualifications.

CV Rejection 10: Mismatch between the Vacancy and Your Skills and/or Qualification

Every vacancy comes with expected skills and qualifications. If you do not meet the requirements, it could be another reason why employers may reject your CV.

Tip: To avoid the pain of rejection, only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for.

CV Rejection 11: Submitting Your CV with an Empty Body of Mail

When submitting your application, write a short message on the body of the mail. Let the employer know beforehand, the employee that they’ll be reviewing.

The body of your application email could contain; your name, qualification, expertise, and previous experience. 

Read this to learn how to mail a job application.

CV Rejection 12: Your CV Doesn’t Match Your Other Application Materials

One major cause of this is using a generic CV. Always craft your CV and application materials together.

Tip: Your CV and Cover Letter should be written together.

CV Rejection 13: Using a Wrong CV Template for Your Industry

A Google search for CV templates will bring up hundreds of answers in split seconds. This is to show that there are multiple templates that you can use to craft your CV.

Don’t be carried away with fancy templates. Stick to a CV template that fits your industry. Visual artists may use fancy templates and make a good presentation, but an attorney has no business with fancy CVs.

Tip: If your industry frowns at fancy CVs, stay away from it. Stick with a progressive and simple CV template.

CV Rejection 14: Submitting the Wrong CV Format

Submitting the wrong CV format is as good as not submitting a CV.

Pay close attention to the required format or any suggestion of a CV format when applying for a job.

Here are some tips to follow regarding CV formats;

  • If the advert says that CVs should be submitted in Word format, for example, then you should stick to the instructed format.
  • Applicants prefer submitting their CVs in PDF format since it keeps the document together irrespective of the device used to open it. But, if the job ad mentions anything about Applicant Tracking (ATS), then it’s best to submit your CV in word format. The reason being that; PDF documents don’t parse well in the Applicant Tracking System.
  • Even if you are an artist, avoid the temptation of sending your CV via a link/URL.
  • ZIP files are not also suitable. It could be one of the reasons why employers may reject your CV, stick to the requested CV format, or don’t waste your time applying.

CV Rejection 15: Applicant Picture

There’s usually a divide on whether pictures should be included in a CV or not. Some people include their picture thinking it’ll help them put up a strong impression.

Whatever the reasons, understand that applicants are judged by their ability to do a job; and not by how brightly they smile.

Including your picture in your CV is unnecessary unless the line of work requires that you put up the right looks i.e. modelling, acting, etc.

CV Rejection 16: Unprofessional Email

To avoid being disqualified by an incredibly tiny issue, like an “email”, ensure to use a professional email for your application.

Receiving an application from “misszizzy@gmail.com” or “FavHottie@gmail.com” will turn off employers. You can head to Gmail or Yahoo and create a free official mail for yourself.

An official mail should be a combination of your name and surname i.e. paulwalker@gmail.com or chadwickboseman@gmail.com.

Click this link to learn more about emails, and email etiquettes.

CV Rejection 17: Missing/Incorrect Contact Details

Omitting your contact details is costly. Even when the employers accept your application, they’ll have no way of reaching you.

You may want to double-check your contact information, before hitting the apply button.

CV Rejection 18: Inaccurate/Conflicting Dates

Inaccurate and/or conflicting dates could cost you an opportunity. If you have job experiences that overlap, try to space them out to avoid misinterpretation.

In the same vein, address any inaccurate dates so that they don’t make you look like a liar.

CV Rejection 19: Long CVs

The argument about CV length has been ongoing for years, and may not end anytime soon. Whatever you do, don’t get lost including too many things in your CV that you forget to put the most important things.

An employer is already overwhelmed with the numerous applications they have to go through. Presenting a long CV that would have rather stayed short with the most important details could take your CV closer to the bin.

 It is not the length of the CV that counts but the quality (relevance).

Reasons Why Employers May Reject Your CV

CV Rejection 20: Scanty/Short CVs

Just like a long CV won’t do you much good; sending a CV with just a few lines of text, won’t do you much good either.

Your watchword should be “relevant information.” Include as much relevant information related to the job you’re applying.

CV Rejection 21: Bizarre Colours, Unusual Fonts, and Coloured Paper

Don’t use colours and fonts (size, style) that will make you seem desperate and attention-seeking. Keep it simple with your CV colours and fonts. Finally, a plain white background is still the best option for your CV.

CV Rejection 22: Formatting

Poor formatting makes it hard for a recruiter to decipher where the sections of your CV start and ends.

More so, your chances will be greatly reduced with CV screening software; as some of them struggle to read incorrectly formatted documents.

CV Rejection 23: Including too Many Personal Information

Avoid including any personal information that doesn’t increase your chances of securing the job.

Asides from the fact that they take up space that can be used to present other relevant information, they are just pointless. Details like your height, weight, date of birth, state of origin, LGA, religion, etc. is unnecessary.

P.S: You can include them if the job position requires them.

CV Rejection 24: Long Paragraphs

Employers want a CV that quickly gives them the relevant details they need. They usually don’t have much time to go through CVs with long paragraphs.

Hence, your CV needs to be easy for the reader to scan and quickly locate important details regarding your job history, skills, and accomplishments.

Use easy to read sentences that contain less than 20 words. Also, use relatively short paragraphs with bullets.

CV Rejection 25: Spamming your CV

Don’t apply multiple times for a position in company XYZ. This will get you noticed for the wrong reasons.


Don’t submit an application for the position of an Accountant, and Business Development Analyst in company XYZ during the same recruitment period.

Furthermore, curtail the habit of submitting your CV for every job advert that you see. Apply only, for positions that you’re ready to pursue a career in, and have prepared your job search documents for.

CV Rejection 26: Wrong Chronological CV Order

Another classic CV mistake is the lack of chronological order.

You should arrange your CV according to the most recent employment and latest achievements within that position.

Learn more about the different CV formats and when to use them.

CV Rejection 27: Using too many Cliché

Many CVs look and sound alike; this is because most people copy their CVs from friends, blogs, etc.

Don’t join the bandwagon; put your touch on your CV. Let your CV be yours not everyone’s.

There should be differences between your CV and that of Mr.B even if you two worked the same job position.

CV Rejection 28: Incomplete Past Employer Information

When you list your past employments, make it a habit to write a short description of the companies you’ve worked for. Doing this will help any prospective employer understand your background and the kind of companies you’ve worked with.

Always include a brief description of your past employment/employer. Unless your past employers need no introduction i.e a National/Multinational brand. Otherwise, just writing an old employer like Elochi Technology will confuse the recruiter since they don’t know what the said company is all about.

CV Rejection 29: Improper Employer Research

Online job boards have made it easy for candidates to fire multiple applications to different companies without considering the vacancy available.

If you wish to stand a chance amongst the other applicants, you should be ready to research the employers and the industry they’re in.

CV Rejection 30: Weird Hobbies

Hobbies help an employer to imagine what your life is like outside the office. That said, it’s of no use including unrelated hobbies to the job you’re applying for.

CV Rejection 31: Lack of Strong References

Just like a testimonial on an advert copy; a strong reference in your CV will give you a better chance than having nothing.

Putting the names and contacts of people who can attest to your qualities increases your chances; even if the employer doesn’t contact them.

CV Rejection 32: Negative Social Image

Yes, employers go as far as checking what your social presence looks like.

With the rise of internet trolls, bullies, etc, employers are careful not to hire someone who will tarnish their company’s image.

Ensure your social image is not conflicting with your industry. If you have comments or posts that can be misleading, it’ll be wise to put them down to avoid scaring employers away.

CV Rejection 33: Trying too much to Impress

If you are trying too much to impress with your CV, it’ll show and recruiters will frown at your application.

Instead of stuffing your CV with too many details that make you look like an attention seeker; alternatively, you can tailor your CV to present you as a trustworthy candidate.

CV Rejection 34: Location Barrier

Locations matter a lot to employers because it also affects the punctuality of employees. Therefore, employers may give more considerations to an applicant with a closer commute.

If you know the distance from your home will reduce your chances of getting called for an interview, it’s better to use an address that is closer to the company location.

CV Rejection 35: Age Barrier

Firstly, it is illegal for any employer to disqualify an applicant based on age. However, some positions are suitable for a particular age demographic.

If your age doesn’t match the required bracket, it may cause an employer to reject your application.

CV Rejection 36: Using the Functional CV format

Functional CVs focus more on skills and certifications rather than experience.

Functional CVs are mostly used when an applicant wants to switch industries and he/she lacks the required experience. Unfortunately, hiring managers are often wary of functional CVs.

CV Rejection 37: Meaningless Introduction/Objective Statement

Objective statements are outdated; preferably, use an “executive summary.”

Rather than talking so much about why you want a career in your choice industry, why not open your CV with a summary of your qualities, qualifications, and most valuable achievements. This way, a recruiter sees from the beginning that you are a valuable candidate.

CV Rejection 38: Writing in the 3rd Person

I am sure this post was helpful. Kindly leave your comments, questions, or remarks in the comment section. Don’t forget that FasthireNg is dedicated to providing legit and current job vacancies, career information, job hunt assistance, interview coaching, and job search resources.

Editors Recommendation:

How to Write a Winning CV for any Position

How to Optimize Your Resume to Pass Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Actual Free CV Review Websites to Use

10 Common CV Based Interview Questions and Answers

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