Few jobs are calling you back, and the ones that do aren’t interested in hiring you. It’s hard to deal with, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s certainly not the end of your career journey. Pick yourself back up, re-evaluate your application and interview, and figure out why you’re not getting hired – from there, you’ll know how to nail the application process.
1. Lack of Tailoring
You should submit a unique application package to every job you apply for. Sure, it’ll eat up your valuable time to work on all these applications, but it’ll be worth it because tailoring could make or break you. Instead of sending off the same resume with every skill you possess to each job, focus any sections describing your skills based on the required skills in the job posting. By leaving out your irrelevant skills, you’re showing yourself to be the ideal candidate.
You should also discuss your admiration of the company in your cover letter to express why you’d be interested in working there, pointing to their values or past work. The hiring manager reading your resume will be able to tell you’re genuinely invested in their company, and appreciate that you put extra time into your application to prove that.
2. Inadequate Skillset
Maybe you just don’t have the right skills for the jobs you’ve applied for in the past, or maybe you’re just not letting those skills shine. You should be carefully reading the job posting before you apply, and then as mentioned previously, make sure your application highlights as many of the skills the posting lists as possible. Share evidence of your skills when applicable – for example, metrics on your resume, or anecdotes in your cover letter.
3. Networking Neglect
A sad truth of the job-seeking world: someone may get hired over you solely because they knew more people at the company. It’s time for you to become that person. Network with people in your industry and at companies you’d like to work for wherever you can – reach out on LinkedIn, or attend industry or company events and introduce yourself to people there.
When you’re applying for a job, it doesn’t hurt to connect with the hiring manager or boss on LinkedIn either, perhaps sending a message expressing your excitement about the company.
4. Application Overload
Resumes and cover letters should be as concise as possible. If you’re submitting multi-page resumes and 10 paragraph cover letters, that’s likely the reason you’re not getting hired. Hiring managers have tons of applications they need to go through, and they won’t have the time to read huge applications.
Both your resume and cover letter should be one page maximum. Cover letters should be three paragraphs – an introduction, the main portion, and then a conclusion. The shorter you can make each section, the better – just be mindful about what information about you is relevant to each job.
5. Interview Performance
Now, maybe the last four points have told you that you have the perfect application – but how did your interview go? When you’re being interviewed, be confident in selling your abilities to the interviewers. If you struggle to articulate yourself when discussing the content of your application out loud, said content won’t matter anymore. You should also be confident talking about the company itself – do your homework and come prepared with knowledge and questions about the company and position.
Be careful with how you present yourself as well – practice good body language, making eye contact and not slouching; dress and do your makeup appropriately for the workplace; show up early to show care. Even if you’re nervous (and we all get nervous in job interviews – it’s normal!), do your best not to show it.
You can practice for your interview by researching common questions in job interviews and writing down key points you’d like to highlight in the interview. Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, can help guide you through an interview with an Interview Prep session!
6. Lack of Persistence
You could nail everything mentioned above, be the perfect candidate, but if you just don’t seem to want the job enough, you’ll get passed on. Persistence is just as important as everything else listed. Send a follow-up email to see if they got your application, and especially send a thank you email after the interview to express how interested you are in the job. As mentioned before, you can also reach out to the company’s employees before the interview on LinkedIn, and it’d be great to extend a network invitation to the hiring manager who interviewed you afterwards, as well. Show you’re excited about the job, and keep your name fresh in the hiring manager’s mind!
And remember, not getting a job says nothing negative about you as a person. We’ve all made mistakes on applications and in interviews before, and sometimes, you’re just not want the company needs. Other jobs will come along, and your dream job is out there waiting for you. Keep pushing forward on your career path, stay confident in yourself, and you’ll find work you love eventually.
Need some extra help with your application? Book a Style Nine to Five Resume + Cover Letter Refresh!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
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