How To Avoid Getting Rejected At The Job Application Stage

If you are to secure a job your first hurdle to get over is getting an invitation for interview.  In the early stages of your career it can be slightly easier than when you become more senior.  Nevertheless it is still tough to avoid getting rejected at the first stage in the job selection process.


Speaking to people at all levels, including those with a track record at Director level, what is clear that it is becoming harder and harder to get through that initial screening process.


Yet often some simple changes can make a huge difference to the results achieved.  For example when I work with clients, it is surprising how much difference even the smallest of changes can make.


So what can you do to reduce the likelihood of getting rejected at the first stage and securing more interviews?


Tip 1: Study The Job Description Closely


A well written job description is packed with clues about what the employer is looking for.  How long do you spend going through it?  If you are like a lot of people it will probably be a few minutes at the most.  In this short window you are only going to skim the surface and miss a lot of nuggets.  Give yourself plenty of time to review the job description and really explore what they are looking for.


Tip 2: Look In Depth At The Person Specification


Most employers will differentiate between what they see as essential and what is desirable.  In the essential criteria they are in effect providing the profile of the ideal person.  What skills, qualifications, experience, knowledge and personal attributes they are seeking.


Tip 3: Match Your CV To The Job Description and Person Specification


I don’t mean literally.  What I suggest is that for everything they are looking for, you try to make sure that your CV or application form contains matches what they want as much as you possibly can.  Remember the recruiter or employer will want to find the information easily.


Tip 4: Write With The Reader In Mind


The person who is reviewing your CV or application is probably extremely busy and time pressurised.  If you write your CV or application in a wordy way, it will not get read.  Make it easy for them to skim and quickly assess whether you are a serious candidate.


Tip 5: Put It Through The 30 Second Test


You probably have a maximum of 30 seconds to get attention.  In essence this means that your profile or summary and achievements need to stand out.  If it fails to do this you are probably heading immediately to the rejected bundle.


Tip 6: Make A Habit Of Getting Feedback


Most avoid feedback because they worry that they will hear something negative and it will destroy confidence.  The reality is that most people will not be destructive and offer balanced feedback, highlighting what was good and what needs improving.


The Bottom Line:  There are no guarantees that you will get beyond the job application stage.  At the same time there is a lot that you can do to stack the odds in your favour.


Duncan Brodie helps accountants achieve more career success.  He invites you to sign up for his free report, The 7 Biggest Barriers To A Successful Career In Accountancy.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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