As an employee and a business owner, I have, over the past decade learned a few things that every new job applicant should know. Read on to learn the top 5 reasons you are not getting hired.
- Your resume and cover letter are poor. Hiring Managers do not spend all day reading through resumes or CV's. Cover letters get a cursory glance - meaning you have only a few seconds to impress someone. Taking the time to learn the name of the individual who is likely to receive your resume immediately indicates that you are a thorough and insightful person. Cover letters which contain spelling or grammatical errors, or are unnecessarily wordy generally do not go to the top of the pile. Take the time to make your letter concise and memorable.
- Your resume is top notch, but your interview skills are lacking. Overstating your experience may get you an interview, but a good hiring manager will quickly suss you out. Be sure that whatever you are listing as your abilities and strengths can be clearly communicated in a formal interview. Managers will expect you to be somewhat nervous, and a good one will try to put you at ease. If you are feeling overwhelmed and are unable to express yourself as clearly as you should, this could negatively affect your ability to land the job. Additionally, the more impressive your resume, the higher the expectations of the screening panel. Make sure that you can clearly and consistently express who you are in person - and that it aligns with, or exceeds - what your experiences are on paper. Nerves aside, be sure that your attire and demeanor match up with the company's corporate culture and your resume. Dress for the job you want! we have all heard that - and nowhere is it more relevant than in a formal job interview.
- You don't seem clear about the job and the company. Have you done your homework? Do you know your interviewer's business pain? Are you the person to alleviate it? It is wise to ask those questions of yourself before you pen your first cover letter. Your potential employer is advertising for a position because they have a void within their company and are seeking to find the right candidate to fill it. They may expect to speak to several interviewees, or they may have a pre-screened short list - but they already know what they are looking for in a new recruit. Showing that you know who your potential employer is, and what your skill set can do for them, is the hallmark of an excellent applicant.
- You are not clear on your strengths and "non-strengths". Hiring Managers are not expecting perfection. Perhaps you are terrible in teams and much prefer to work alone - being able to communicate that and explain to your potential employer why you are a good fit despite your "non-strengths" is essential to landing a job. If you cannot think of what your strengths are - take the time to identify them before you go to the interview. It is a standard question in most interviews, because it tells the Hiring Manager more about who you will be as an employee. Be ready to answer it - don't waffle. This is the time in the interview to show your human side - relate a story or example of how you overcame your "non-strengths" or displayed your strengths in previous jobs - it is your opportunity to connect with the interviewer and sell yourself.
- You do not follow up. The interview is over and you drive away. Perhaps you are sure that you will get a call, perhaps you aren't. Distinguish yourself from the other potential job seekers by sending a simple "thank you letter" to your interviewer. There are many online resources where you can find templates on how to format a letter. Taking the time to call and get the email addresses (it is 2015 after all) and sending an email instead will leave a memorable impression also. If you were asked questions that you fumbled over, perhaps think over what you feel you should have said, or where perhaps you were misunderstood - and create a short but concise second response - if you feel that it may have left questions in the interviewer's mind about your suitability. Showing some appreciation for the opportunity to speak to the Hiring Manager indicates that you are a class act - and being a class act is a trait that you generally can't write on your formal resume, but one which every employer is looking for.
These are, in my experience, the top 5 reasons you are not getting the job. There are other reasons which I did not list, as I believe that if you can excel at these top 5, your chances of landing a job increase exponentially.