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When your CV is rejected, it is very important to obtain feedback. This can be frustrating as very often there is a lack of response provided or a standard ‘Dear John’ reply.


Below are three common reasons for rejection:

1. You have too much experience

If you are declined for having too much experience, this can be because a CV illustrates excessive skill and/or education. This is of course, not entirely negative; however, employers will generally question your application. Basically, little can be gained from submitting an application that could be suitable for a Financial Controller position when the employer is only looking for an Assistant Accountant.

Ask yourself the question: should I remove my key skills and experience so that I can apply for this job? This can be a tight juggling act as you must re-align your CV with the role you are applying for. You must ensure that transferable skills are clearly specified and the vast majority of your skills can be matched to what is required in the position now, not in five years' time. A hiring manager putting together a short list together just wants to know three things:

  • Do you have the skills and experience to do the job?
  • Are you the best person to do the job ‘on paper’ from all the other applicants?
  • Do you seem like a good team fit?

2. Wrong team or culture fit

If you are rejected on the basis of ‘culture fit’ this not necessarily related to ethnicity. This rejection can be used quite generally by employers and some additional analysis is often needed to pinpoint the exact meaning of the rejection.

A common question is; how can an employer possibly assume that I am the wrong culture fit without meeting me in person? This can be very confusing. The answer could relate to any of the following:

  • CV is not specific
  • CV is too focused on exact technical skills
  • CV focuses too much on one particular industry for example manufacturing or FMCG. Experience in those industries may be irrelevant to the position applied for
  • CV lacks corporate experience or perhaps illustrates too much corporate experience
  • No impression of personality or key personal attributes has been portrayed

You can counter this rejection by demonstrating transferable skills and/or transferable experiences/competencies in your CV.

3. Wrong industry fit

This could apply if perhaps you have only ever worked within one industry and have a lack of relevant industry experience.

Care must be taken when writing a CV that is too technically focused. You must be aware of your core competencies and be able to illustrate how they tie in with your technical skills.

It is completely normal for employees to change industries every few years and it is also quite normal for employees to face a wall when attempting to write a relevant CV.


"The CV is awesome! It really promotes my sales abilities and I have been receiving more phone calls already as a result."

Todd McCallum
Key Account Manager, Auckland


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