Why generic CVs and cover letters end up in the bin!

Choices You’ve just sent me a CV & cover letter for a job.  You and possibly several hundred others so I’m going to spend just a few seconds skimming over it to see which pile you fit in.  Yes, No or Maybe.

I have a check-list of all the skills & qualifications I’m looking for and if you don’t tick any boxes you’ll be going in the No pile.

Why generic CVs fail.

  • They often talk about duties you performed not the skills involved.
  • The skills you are talking about may not be on my wishlist.
  • Personal statements clearly not targeted at this job or sector.

Why generic cover letters fail

  • Bad cut and paste jobs – even referring to the wrong company or wrong job.
  • You clearly haven’t done the research into who we are or what we do, why should I consider you? I want to see that you want to work in my organisation not ANY organisation.
  • Completely missing the point of the organisation or job role.

I’m not good at guessing!

I’m not going to just assume you have a skill or qualification either. Just because you say you have worked on a reception desk, I’m not going to imagine what that might have involved or that you might have been good at it.

SHOW ME – I want evidence that demonstrates your effectiveness.

  • You don’t necessarily have to have done the same job before, i’ll happily look at a skill gained in another context.
  • If you have done similar tasks or roles in the past I want to see specific details – now you have me really interested.
  • If it sounds believable and consistent you’ll move up the pile.
  • If you have more ticks on my wishlist than other people i’ll interview you to see if you live up to expectations.

So go on make the effort, even a bar job deserves a CV tailored at typical bar work skills!
Check out our CV & cover letter guides 

See also:

How to do your research for CVs and cover letters 

All Applications and interviews Undergraduate Undergraduate-highlighted

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