Even though you may be a uniquely qualified job candidate, there are lots of reasons why you may not be getting the interview calls. Some, frankly, are not within your control, but many are and can be addressed. If you feel that you are perfect for the job and have done your research, avoiding some common mistakes can help get you in the door.
However, remember, if you don’t get the interview, it’s important in all cases, never to take it personally. As the old adage goes, it may be all for the best. The company may not be the best fit. So don’t linger over feeling rejected, instead focus your attention on new opportunities.
Let’s discuss some of those reasons you’re not getting the interview that are out of your control and therefore, not worth worrying about. Most organizations will never admit to some of these, but they do happen.
1. Tight Job Market: This is blaringly obvious, but must be mentioned. Hiring managers receive tons of resumes from well-qualified candidates with industry experience.
2. Company History: Hiring managers evaluate the companies where you worked and these companies may not meet their criteria.
3. Internal Candidate: There may be an internal candidate the organization intends to place in the advertised position. The organization’s rules may require that all positions be externally posted. Even if you were Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, there is little chance you would be considered for the position. The posting is a mere formality. Unfortunately this happens.
4. Recruiter burnout: You sent your application In right away, but the recruiter is being inundated with resumes and decides to limit the number s/he will review. Yours doesn’t even get looked at.
5. You’re not the Purple Cow: Remember the humorous verse
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.
The organization may be looking for that perfect candidate (who may not even exist) or they may be trying to round out their group with a certain type of person. You may not fit that type. Period. Move on.
Now, as for the reasons within your control, here are some to consider:
1. Your resume doesn’t show accomplishments and enthusiasm. It’s important that your resume is results-driven to capture the recruiter’s attention. Don’t simply list your job responsibilities. Show your quantifiable accomplishments and let them know that you can do the same for their organization. Your resume is like a movie trailer. Make them want to see you.
2. You don’t include keywords. Most of the time, scanning software will be used to screen your resume. If it doesn’t have certain keywords from the job posting, it will be tossed. Make sure your resume addresses the job description and requirements.
3. You have employment gaps or look like a job hopper: If you have a lot of short term roles, try to bundle them in a way that shows more consistency and focuses on skills.
4. You don’t follow the explicit directions. Carefully study the job application directions. This is not the time to cut corners or be lazy. Proofread and eliminate any typos or grammatical errors. Answer all the questions that are asked. Any missing information can be hazardous.
5. Your coverletter shows no passion for the job. Your coverletter is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how much you want the job and how qualified you are by giving more description of your unique accomplishments and how they tie to the job description.
6. To Whom It May Concern: This coverletter salutation can be seen as too general. It may be difficult, but try to get the name of the hiring manager by calling the company. Hiring managers say that although this is not essential, it does help to garner their attention when they see applications addressed personally to them. You might also address it to the Manager of the Department (eg., “Hiring Manager, Accounting Department”).
7. You haven’t networked into the Company: If you are able to be referred by someone within the company or known to the hiring manager, mention the contact within the coverletter. Ask any in-house referrals to also hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager and/or send an email endorsing you and your application for the job.
8. You don’t follow up: You should call or email the hiring manager within two weeks of submitting your application and make sure you send thank you emails after each contact you have with the company or with references.
9. Your timing is off: Perhaps you applied too late Try to apply as soon as a job posting is listed.
In the end, if you’re a great match for a job, have put your best foot forward and you still don’t get the interview, move on. There are lots of new job postings every day and pursuing those in an excellent manner and looking ahead is the best way to expend your energy. Getting a job is not just about being the best candidate who meets all the job requirements. It’s also about motivation and drive and self-confidence. Perseverance is critical in the job search. It’s only a matter of time when you will get those phone calls for interviews.