How to write a resume and what you may be doing wrong

CAREERS’ panel of expert recruiters answers a reader’s question each week. Have a question? Email [email protected]

I think I’m doing all the right CV things but not getting anywhere. What might I be missing?

Justin Hinora

Executive consultant,

Hender Consulting

Firstly, seek feedback on your CV and application from any unsuccessful submissions, take the feedback on board constructively, learn from it and adjust accordingly. Having a great CV is one thing but the job market is very competitive so it’s really important before submitting an application to make an inquiry and have a discussion regarding your suitability and transferability of skills and experience with the recruiter or hiring manager. Make sure that you tailor your CV and cover letter application specifically for the position you are applying for. One size does not fit all.

Andrew Sullivan

Managing director,

Sullivan Consulting

If you’re not getting anywhere, then you may need to reconsider your CV. The important thing is that your CV conveys your skills and experience in a persuasive way. Make sure to put your most relevant experience at the top, and include all your qualifications, highlighting those most relevant to the role. Follow online resume templates in your industry or consider reaching out to someone who often recruits for some feedback. Also, make sure you’re including a strong cover letter to further demonstrate your skills, knowledge and reasons for applying.

Alexandra Rosser

Head of Organisational Psychology Consulting,

Stillwell Management Consultants

If you are not already, include a cover letter which briefly but specifically highlights the key areas of your CV that relate to this role, and ensure the selection criteria are addressed and you outline achievements you have had that showcase your relevant skills and knowledge. Review whether you are applying for roles at the suitable level for your experience and whether you are tailoring your CV sufficiently for each role rather than using a generic one each time. Also consider having your job search approach and CV professionally reviewed and improved, as this will enable you to have some objective feedback about CV format, length and content and whether you are using the broadest and best methods for identifying job opportunities suitable for you.

Lisa Morris



Without more detail it’s hard to give an exact answer, but in general there are typically two reasons why your CV may not be landing you an interview. Firstly, if your CV is not personalised for each job, it will fail to impress the hiring manager or recruiter. Every employer is different and so naturally values different skills and competencies. Take an hour or two to research the role and the organisation, then tailor your CV by cutting back on the skills that are not relevant for this particular role and adding examples to evidence those that are. Secondly, are you using the right CV format and adding keywords? One job ad can elicit hundreds of responses, which is why many recruiters and organisations use applicant tracking systems to screen and identify suitable candidates to interview. So, make sure you identify relevant keywords from the job ad and incorporate them into your CV. Also, make sure you use an accepted CV format as an alternative style might not contain the content that the algorithms recognise. You can download a free CV template from our website.

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