We have detected you are using an outdated browser.

Kindly upgrade your version of Internet Explorer or use another browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Five Reasons Why Your Application Did Not Make It To The Shortlist


Errors to look out for

A well delivered and structured CV is what draws the line between you being shortlisted for a post and your CV getting tossed. Your CV is a recruiter’s first impression of you. It also serves as the key shortlisting mechanism an employer is going to use to sort candidates from each other.

Below are some of the avoidable mistakes young professionals make while applying for a job:

No email subject and/or body

Most applications will require you to state the position you are applying for as the email subject.

The recruiter could be recruiting for multiple positions and sending your application without stating the position you are applying for might be the shortest route to automatic disqualification. This is ignoring email communication courtesy. Most recruiters view it as not only annoying, but also careless.

Formality thrown out of the window

Your formality in structuring your CV and cover letter, and the choice of grammar really speaks a lot about your business acumen. Do not be too colorful. Instead, be legible and simple. Do not use “Hi” and other informal salutations. Use “Dear Jane Doe” and so on.

Lack of structure

A simple, legible, well-structured and chronological document will give the recruiter an easy time to maneuver through your CV and cover letter for the shortlisting details that may otherwise be hidden in a poorly structured document.

Using one CV and Cover letter to apply for tons of positions

Go through your CV and Cover letter every time you make an application to customize it to the position you are applying for. Make sure the information reflects what the job requirements are. If Excel, advanced MS Word skills, and a particular programming language are required and you have the skills, make sure this information is well captured in the application.


Go through your application email and your documents many times for spelling and grammatical errors. Be sure to use a formal language and avoid shortcuts such as “lyk”, “wud”, “ur”… this is a guaranteed way of having your CV disregarded and discarded.


This article was written by Jonathan OtienoCareer Development Services.


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu.