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Despite its importance, a resume can only get you so far in your job search. That’s why even when you have a perfectly fine resume that’s well-written, free of errors, and properly formatted, getting hired can still prove elusive. So, what do you do when your resume per se isn’t the problem? Here are possible reasons and how to fix them.
You didn’t prepare for the interview
Your new job interview is your chance to make a great impression. This means you need to look sharp and confident, and answer questions with eloquence and flair. As for what to wear, ask about the dress code when they schedule your interview, and then err on the side of caution by dressing up, not down. Answer interview questions truthfully and candidly. If you show up messy, ill-prepared, and with very little to say, you simply will not get hired. If you feel that you are botching key interview questions, take note of those questions, then spend time practicing eloquent answers, so you’re prepared the next time you get a call.
You weren’t the right candidate
Through your own eyes, there’s probably no one out there more qualified for the new job than you. However, the hiring manager or employer reading your resume may have a completely different opinion. Perhaps they found a better match than you. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but that’s just the way it is, and you simply have to move on to another company that sees what you see.
You didn’t follow instructions
Depending on the company you’re applying to, resume submission can be a long and complicated process. Perhaps you felt like the company wouldn’t mind if you skipped an instruction or two. What you have to keep in mind is that even if a direction doesn’t make sense to you, your potential employers placed it there for a reason. So, if the application states that you submit original documents, but you only submitted copies, you’re never going to be considered for the position. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
The company is taking its time
Research shows that companies receive an average of 250 applications per one new job opening. Put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes and imagine having to pore over each one. Not that poring is something that recruiters and hiring managers do since survey claims they average six seconds reviewing an individual resume. Still, 250 applications is a lot, and that’s only the first part of the hiring process. There’s also screenings, interviews, and possibly written and practical tests to speak of. Quite possibly, the company is simply taking their time to evaluate candidates, and all you really have to do is be patient and wait.
You keep applying for the wrong jobs
Employers are not the only ones prone to skimming documents. Applicants can be just as guilty, and this point is another pitfall of not reading the details of the job opening carefully. Recent graduates and those that have been unemployed for a certain period may be tempted to send their resume to just about anyone just so they can finally get a job. When you shoot aimlessly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of applying to jobs that are completely wrong for you, especially if you don’t know what you want. Unfortunately, just because you believe you can perform the responsibilities of the job does not mean you are qualified.
You’re asking for too much
You don’t want to be the person who asks for tens of thousands above the salary range, especially if you’re someone who’s relatively inexperienced in the job you applied for. No one’s going to take you seriously. Research the average salary for the position, and the next time you get asked for your expected salary, turn the tables around and say something like—“Can I ask the range you have in mind?” They may answer, or they won’t. If they continue to ask for a figure, simply give your honest-to-goodness answer, but add that you’re willing to negotiate an amount that both of you can consider a win-win.
Your references failed you
Hopefully, you chose references who can put you in a good light. It’s not enough that your references won’t say anything negative about you, but any indecisiveness or indifference on their part can be just as damaging to your application. After choosing your pool of references, make sure to inform them that they might be contacted about your application. Let them know about the position you’re applying for, along with a little background on the company and the skill sets that make you a qualified candidate. By preparing your references for the call, they may better help your case.
What about the information on your resume?
Just as you could be a wrong fit for the company, your resume can be as well. Of course, you’re free to send your resume to any company in any industry, but while your resume itself is a standard document for application, its contents are not.Thus, it is essential that you tailor the written information to suit the position you’re sending it for. Many companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems that comb resumes for keywords, and if your resume doesn’t contain them, it could very well end up getting ignored.
Follow-up to confirm the reason
It can be anxiety-inducing not to know why you didn’t get hired, but there’s no harm in asking for the reason they didn’t choose you. Follow up with a smartly written letter that includes the following:
• Your continued interest in the position
• Why you’re qualified for the job
• A polite inquiry asking if you’re still a candidate, and if not, if they could provide you with feedback
Getting their feedback is essential because it can help strengthen your case the next time you apply. In the meantime, let us have a look at your resume for free to get an objective opinion and see if there’s room for improvement.