Applying for jobs can feel like a job in and of itself, so naturally, it’s frustrating when you take the time to do so and then you don’t get the job. Sometimes, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager and start to work on understanding why you aren’t getting hired, so you can make a change.
The following are common reasons people don’t get a job when they apply.
There’s a Problem with Their Background
Employers can find a ton of information about job candidates online without ever having to do a formal background check. They can simply type candidates’ names into a search and find out so many things, like how the person portrays themselves online.
You have to realize that if your online reputation and presence aren’t particularly appealing to hiring managers, they’re not going to push you forward to the next phase of the process.
Take some time to clean up your online reputation and start to build the personal brand you want for yourself.
The Cover Letter
If a cover letter is optional and you’re not including one, you’re telling hiring managers that you don’t even care enough to write a couple of paragraphs, so why should they care enough to hire you?
If you do write a cover letter, maybe it’s not effectively selling you. As much time as it takes, you need to create an individual cover letter for every position you apply for, and it’s up to you to set yourself apart and connect your skills and experiences directly with the position you’re applying for.
Don’t send out standard cover letters, and don’t ramble, either. Be concise and let the hiring manager know right away that you have what it takes.
Not Transferring Past Experience
You have to take your past experiences and bring them to the present by showing how they’re going to work in the context of the position you’re applying for. You can do this in your cover letter but elsewhere too.
For example, maybe you make it to the interview stage, but you fail to make this critical connection.
If you’re prepared, you can take even somewhat unrelated experiences and bridge them to the skills needed for the position you’re applying for.
Always tailor your application specifically to the job you’re applying for and be able to demonstrate how your experience is applicable because it’s not up to the employer to do this for you.
Being Under- or Overqualified
Of course, it makes sense that being underqualified would be problematic in the eyes of a hiring manager but being overqualified can be problematic as well.
The issue with being overqualified is you might feel like you want more of a challenge or sense of authority than what the role requires. Hiring managers can also worry you won’t like the job, and then you could leave it as a result.
They might also worry you won’t adapt to the role or that they can’t afford your salary.
You have to stand out in the mind of a hiring manager to have a chance of getting the job. You can stand out on your cover letter and resume, but then if you make it to the next step, you also have to be distinctive when it comes to your interview.
You want to make sure that you’re connected to what the interviewer is saying. Stay engaged so that you’re able to ask the right questions and, if possible, tell a quick story that could set you apart, especially if it’s related to the position you hope to get.
You can also give the person interviewing you something physical and tangible to help them remember you, like a business card or a paper copy of your resume.
Other ways to stand out in person include being prepared and doing your research, showing enthusiasm, being warm and personable, and demonstrating what you can bring to the company and the position.
An Internal Candidate
Unfortunately, sometimes not getting the job is outside of your control, and there’s little, if anything, you could have done to change the outcome. It may be that the company has an internal candidate they’d had in mind before they even posted the job, but they had to conduct some interviews for one reason or another.
If there’s an internal candidate that seems poised for the role already, it’s tough to overcome this person, no matter how great your resume and interview might be.