Job searching can be a humbling experience. Even the most skilled and accomplished candidates are sometimes eliminated or met with radio silence. However, with the right job search strategy, you can avoid falling into an endless pattern of submitting applications. Here are a few potential reasons you’re not getting hired, along with our best advice on how to break the cycle!
1) Not Announcing Your Job Hunt
If you’ve been in the workforce long enough, you probably already know: It’s not always all about what you know, as much as it is who you know. Oftentimes, the best people to vouch for you are those who have already worked alongside you. Don’t forget to leverage your network and be vocal on social media about your job search. Employers are more likely to hire a referral than a cold candidate any day.
2) Not Formatting Your Resume Correctly
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is often used to scan applications and resumes for keywords relevant to a specific job opening. This means there’s a chance your resume won’t actually be reviewed by a human, even after it’s been submitted. Avoid creative design elements, tables, graphics, and unusual headings that might confuse the system. For your best shot at making it into the next round … keep your formatting as simple as possible.
3) Not Applying to the Right Jobs
Don’t play the numbers game! Applying for more jobs will not necessarily result in more interviews, and it certainly won’t result in more offers. Instead, focus on narrowing your search and becoming more targeted in your approach. Answer the following questions to the best of your ability before you spend time applying:
- How do your qualifications compare to what the job requires?
- Do your personal values and career vision align with the company’s mission and values?
- What is your confidence level in your ability to perform the essential job duties?
- Does the job satisfy your needs in terms of longevity, benefits, flexibility, location, etc.?
If you are underqualified or overqualified for a certain position, ask yourself if applying for it is the best use of your time. Write down your career goals and outline clear steps to reaching them so that you can be strategic about your job search.
4) Not Customizing Your Resume/Cover Letter
Repeatedly submitting the same, standard resume to every job listing won’t get you any closer to a job offer. While this approach might be convenient, it isn’t effective. Companies want to see that you’re putting in the initial effort to tailor your resume and cover letter to their specific role and company needs. Consider slowing down and taking a more intentional approach by spending a few minutes to create a custom-tailored resume.
5) Not Doing Your Research Ahead of Time
Prior to any interview, it’s wise to research the company and formulate a list of responses to any questions you anticipate could be asked. Aside from the confidence boost this provides, it helps ensure your answers are clear and demonstrates that you’re prepared. If you aren’t completing either of these steps beforehand, it could be a major factor in not getting a callback. Prepare to talk about how well you know the industry and how the company’s values align with your own.
6) Not Selling Yourself
You don’t have the same mix of skills and experience that every other applicant has. This is your opportunity to set yourself apart from competing applicants. Reflect on what makes you the strongest candidate and become laser-focused on differentiating yourself. For instance:
- Research the interviewer(s), know your audience, and speak to their needs
- Be prepared to discuss achievements that are relevant to the role you’ve applied for
- Use situational storytelling to help employers contextualize past successes (e.g., STAR)
- Ask great questions and practice active listening (selling is mostly about listening)
Never forget that securing a new “job” is a value exchange between you and the potential employer. Candidates are hired when company leaders are crystal clear about what will be gained, or even (potentially) lost. The entire objective is to maximize your perceived value so don’t sell yourself short!
7) Not Communicating With Confidence
Your communication style goes hand-in-hand with selling yourself. Pay close attention to both forms of communication – verbal and nonverbal – throughout the entire interview process. If you firmly believe that you’re the best candidate for the position, make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to demonstrate confidence in your ability to perform:
- Conduct practice interviews with friends, family, or colleagues
- Recite positive affirmations to calm your nerves before the interview
- Smile, sit up straight and maintain natural eye contact
- Speak with enthusiasm and choose your words wisely
This is the perfect opportunity to provide the employer with a glimpse into your communication style. Be yourself … but communicate with strength and conviction while remaining respectful, empathetic, and friendly.
Is it possible to pour your heart into taking all the right steps and still not get hired? Absolutely. Ultimately, the employer is in control of the final decision. However, at least you will have done everything in your power to maximize your odds of creating a successful outcome. Practice self-empathy and remind yourself that conducting a job search is hard work – but it’s also a lot easier when you have professional support. Keep reading to learn Why Recruiters Are Your Key To Successful Interview Preparation. We’re here to help!