As you look for work, whether for a new career move, an attempt to get out of an unsatisfying current job, or an ongoing search after losing your previous position, the frustration mounts when, after taking the time to put together a resume and cover letter, you get nothing but crickets as a response. On the one hand, don’t take it personally: Bear in mind that numerous people may apply for the same position, and many reasons outside of your control may contribute to not hearing back. On the other hand, do take it personally: What could you have done differently to make yourself stand out from the (often giant) pile? Here are five reasons interviewers don’t call you back after applying:
- You just aren’t qualified. Your dream job may simply require more experience than you have or a skill set you don’t possess. Or you may have two out of the three “necessary requirements” and another candidate has all of them. Even if you have a strong background that could lend itself or translate well to a different arena (for example, a former teacher could use her background to become a very capable project manager), some companies would still prefer a candidate who has direct experience – it’s not personal. Focus on the positions that fit your background or, if it’s an industry you really want to break into, see what you can do to gain the skills or experience you lack.
- Mistakes in your resume. The job description may fit you and your skills extremely well, but if you hand in a resume with obvious errors on it, that first impression is hard to overlook from an employer’s standpoint. It can imply, fairly or unfairly, that you don’t pay attention to important details, and an employer may infer that this will filter into other parts of your work. Look over the resume starting at the end and go over it word by word and phrase by phrase so your eyes don’t gloss over any errors, and have someone else look it over before passing it along.
- Your resume doesn’t contain keywords/is hard to read. In this day and age, one opening may have hundreds of applicants, and HR doesn’t have the time to carefully pore over each resume; some statistics claim resumes get an average of about seven seconds look-over. And if your resume is formatted oddly, that may work against you. Everything should be clear and easy to find — use bullet points and make job titles easy to read, and keep all words to the point. Use the job description to add in keywords you know they’re looking for, and put them near the top of your resume (or each job description) so someone looking it over will spot them quickly.
- Your online profile and resume don’t match up. Employers nowadays use services such as LinkedIn to double-check promising candidates’ resumes. If they look different, it sends up a red flag signaling that one of the two may have some sort of embellishment (or flat-out lie). Much like proofreading your resume, you need to make sure that everything is the same online – everything from job titles to years and months of employment should line up.
- You didn’t interview well. If you get the interview and hear nothing afterward, you may have flubbed the interview somehow. Make sure you arrive on time (early!), dress professionally (at least one step above what the company’s average employee wears), and look the interviewer in the eye and appear confident. Research the position and the company beforehand so you can ask good questions and show that you’ve taken the time to learn about the place. Avoid focusing on salary or promotions; stick with eagerness about the company and the position.
Taking these points into account can help you craft a resume and interview demeanor that will have interviewers remembering you for the right reasons – do what you can to make yourself the one they want. To partner with a recruiter to find your next position, reach out to the experienced recruiters at Creative Staffing today.