4 Reasons You're Not Getting Interviews You May Be Overlooking

The job hunt can be a long, tedious process. Particularly in a tight job market, it's not uncommon for applicants to interview for multiple positions before finding the right fit. But if your job search never gets past the point of application, it's time to take a close look in the mirror. You might be overlooking the reasons you're not getting interviews—and many times, the reasons why are easy to correct.

not getting job interviews

1. You're not following directions

Much to the chagrin of kindergarten teachers the world over, many of us have not mastered the art of following directions, and this shortcoming is costing us job interviews. The hiring manager faced with hundreds of resumes isn't going to waste time sifting through half-completed or improperly submitted applications, no matter how promising a job-seeker seems.

Consider correct submission of your application to be your first employment test. After all, if you can't get the application process right, how can you be expected to follow instructions on the job? Double-check your application packet to ensure it includes all required materials, is in the right file format, is being sent to the correct email address, etc.

2. Your resume is hurting you

Even if you've triple-checked your resume for typos and had a friend proof it with fresh eyes (you did do that, right?), your resume could still be hindering your job search. In today's job market, you can't create a one-size-fits-all resume and expect much success. More and more companies are relying on automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) to weed out unqualified candidates, and if your resume doesn't contain the right keywords, it will never be seen by human eyes.

As you prepare your application, it's a good idea to highlight keywords in the job posting to include in your resume and cover letter. Look for both action words and specific skill sets, and optimize your application accordingly (staying truthful, of course).

3. Your online presence is inappropriate—or nonexistent.

The days when it seemed creepy to search for someone online are long gone. Rest assured, you're getting Googled, and the hiring manager is looking for mutual friends on Facebook and shared connections on LinkedIn. If your phone isn't ringing, it's time to research yourself:

  • Look for possible variants of your name and your name plus your city (i.e., don't just search for John Doe; search for Jack Doe and John Doe + D.C., too).
  • Look at your public profile on Facebook, and make sure the pics from Panama City 2015 aren't publicly available.
  • Set up Google Alerts for variants of your name so you're notified when you're mentioned online.
  • Mind your Ps and Qs. Even if your personal Facebook profile seems locked tight, it might be possible to see embarrassing pages you've "liked" or comments you've left on public posts. You don't want a rant left on a random news story to cost you a job.
  • If damaging information exists online that you can't modify, consider employing a personal reputation management service to help you clean up your digital imprint.
  • If you don't have much of an online presence, create one. Set up a LinkedIn profile, establish a Twitter account, etc. This allows you to control the message—and ensures someone nefarious doesn't claim your name first. Consider registering your name as a domain name, too.

4. You're applying for the wrong jobs

This might be the hardest reason to accept, but it's something you must consider. Are you applying for the wrong positions? If so, you're spinning your wheels whether you're under-qualified or overqualified. If you lack necessary qualifications, you're not going to get a second look (and, even if you do, you're probably not setting yourself up for success). If you're too qualified for a position, a hiring manager might wonder why you've appliedand whether you'll bolt when a better fit and bigger paycheck come along.

This isn't to say you should never apply for a "reach" position or take a less-demanding role if it meets your personal needs. You just need to be prepared to explain how the role fits into the big picture for you. Again, hiring managers faced with dozens of applications probably don't have the energy to think creatively about candidates. They're looking for round pegs to fill round holes, not how they can file down a square peg to make it fit.

Finding a new job is hard work. If it starts to seem too hard, take the time to hit pause and see if you can figure out why.

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