Waiting for an email or a call from an employer to schedule an interview with you and wondering why you haven’t been selected can be the most vexing part of the job search process. You spent so much time and effort writing a perfect cover letter to send with your well-written resume. Why didn’t you get an interview?
It could be that your qualifications just don’t match up with what the company is looking for, or perhaps you missed the mark on your application. The company might even have changed direction since you applied. You may be able to alter your application process to land the interview the next time around.
- You may not actually be qualified for the job being offered.
- You may have made sloppy mistakes on your resume, your cover letter, or on the application.
- The company may no longer be looking to fill the position, either because of a change in their business plan or because they decided to hire internally.
- Most errors can be easily fixed so you have better luck next time.
Your Qualifications Don’t Match Up
There may be limitations to your qualifications or flaws in how you’ve presented your candidacy. You can lower your sights to a more entry-level position and try to reapply after you’ve gathered more experience, or you might try presenting your current qualifications in a more flattering way by emphasizing keywords from the job posting.
The purpose of a resume is to convince employers that you offer the skills they’re looking for. When writing your resume, try to quickly demonstrate how you have some of the exact qualifications mentioned in the job posting.
You Were Screened Out
You may have been screened out by an automated system or by a hiring manager because the language in your resume didn’t match the requirements listed in the job posting. It’s important to take the time to highlight the skills on your resume that qualify you for the position. Companies are too busy to take the time to figure out whether someone is a strong applicant. They want you to tell them why you’re qualified.
Your Knowledge and Skills Don’t Match Up
Your knowledge and skills might not match the capabilities required to excel in the job, or you might not have clearly indicated how you’ve applied the desired skills. Take the time to match up the job requirements with your qualifications. Show the hiring manager at a glance why you’re a good fit.
You Lack the Right Credentials
Maybe you don’t possess a required educational credential. Many jobs have a required level of education or equivalent experience. You may not be considered for the position if you don’t meet them.
You’re Short on Experience
You might lack relevant work experience within that role and/or that industry. You probably won’t get an interview if you don’t have the right experience. You might have applied for a job that was a step or two further up the career ladder. Consider starting with an entry-level position in this case then apply again after you’ve gained more experience.
You Made Mistakes on Your Application
Your application and/or resume may have contained some flaws and errors that waved a red flag and prevented you from presenting yourself as the ideal candidate.
You Didn’t Sell Your Credentials
Perhaps you didn’t make a strong enough case for your interest in the job. Have you sold the hiring manager on why they should interview you? One way to make a compelling case is to show a bit of personality in your cover letter to help you stand out from the crowd.
You Didn’t Showcase Your Accomplishments
Your resume and cover letter didn’t reveal your accomplishments and show how you’ve impacted the bottom line for your prior employers. Using numbers to quantify your achievements is an excellent way to impress a potential employer.
You Didn’t Follow Directions
Maybe you didn’t supply all the information that was requested, or you didn’t accurately follow the directions for the application. An easy way for employers to narrow an applicant pool is to eliminate candidates who don’t provide all the requested information or provide it properly. The employer might doubt that you’d be able to follow instructions if you were hired if you couldn’t follow the instructions when you applied.
Make sure you’ve covered all the bases, especially when you apply online for a job.
You Made Grammatical or Spelling Errors
It’s not always easy to catch your own mistakes. Carefully proofread all your job application documents, and have someone else look them over for you, too, if you can.
Your Cover Letter Was Generic
Maybe your cover letter didn’t speak to the exact position you’re applying for. It wasn’t tailored to the job. The goal of a cover letter is to sell your accomplishments. Write about what you can offer the company, not what you want in a job. Be specific and customize your cover letter so it highlights your best attributes.
Your Cover Letter Was Too Short
Your cover letter might have been too brief, and this led the hiring manager to assume that you weren’t highly motivated to pursue the position. Be sure to include all the components of a successful cover letter and details about what you can offer the employer.
The Job Doesn’t Seem Like a Fit
You failed to make it clear how the job fits into your career plan. Is the experience you have on your resume related to the position for which you’re applying? Have you shown the employer why this job would be a good fit for both you and the organization? Spend some extra time customizing your resume next time if this information wasn’t made clear.
It’s Not You, It’s the Company
It’s possible that the problem has nothing to do with you. An unforeseen change in circumstances might have impacted the readiness for an employer to hire. It’s possible that no candidates are being called in right now for interviews.
There isn’t much you can do about this situation, but it can give you peace of mind to know that you or your qualifications weren’t to blame. You can try calling the hiring manager to get the full story or look for news stories about the company. A downturn in business may signal that plans to hire more employees were scrapped.
The Job Was Put on Hold
Uncertainty about funding may have delayed the hiring process. There could be budget issues, and the hiring process might be held up while the company attempts to figure out its financial situation.
Too Much Else Is Going On
Staff members in charge of hiring might be preoccupied with other immediate concerns. They aren’t focused on the search quite yet. Other factors may have required a shift in resources, and the firm may simply be too busy to add staff right away.
The Company Has Rethought Its Need
Maybe business has slowed, and the employer is no longer committed to hiring for that position. Adding a new employee is costly, and the organization may be rethinking the decision to expand the workforce if there’s been a business slowdown.
They Hired an Internal Candidate
An internal candidate with a proven track record might have expressed interest in the job. This isn’t a reflection on your qualifications. The company decided to promote an employee instead of hiring an outside applicant.
Another Applicant Had Strong Recommendations
Other external candidates could have been endorsed by individuals within the organization who are trusted by its decision-makers and bosses. Those recommendations may have pushed otherwise qualified candidates out of the running.
You Applied Too Late
You may have applied for the job later than other well-qualified candidates, and employers sometimes have to hire quickly. They might have started the interview process as soon as they began receiving applications, so they’ve hired someone already.
One way to get ahead of the crowd is to set up job alerts so you’re notified about new opportunities as soon as they’re listed.
It’s Not the Company, It’s You
Maybe your background just isn’t as stellar as you think it is…or it’s better than you think. Your past relationships with employers can have an impact.
There might be a perception by the employer that you’re overqualified. This can hurt your candidacy as much as being underqualified for a position. Use your cover letter to explain why you’re applying and what you can offer the organization. Express your enthusiasm for the role.
You’re Job Hopping
The hiring manager may have concerns about a pattern of job hopping in your background. They don’t want to hire you only to have you take off next week. You might want to tweak your resume to deemphasize the number of times you’ve changed jobs.
You’re Too Expensive
Your salary expectations or perceived salary requirements might exceed the company’s available resources. They may opt not to interview you if they think you’ll be too expensive to hire. Take time to honestly evaluate what you’re worth and think about whether the job is a good financial fit.
You’ve Had Employment Gaps
There may be unexplained gaps in your employment that could be a red flag for a prospective employer. They’ll at least wonder what you were doing during the time you weren’t gainfully employed. There are ways to make employment gaps less obvious on your resume so you have a better shot at getting an interview.
Your Social Media Presence Is Unprofessional
Your online image may have damaged your candidacy. Take a look at your social media pages from an employer’s perspective before you apply for another job. Have you carefully adjusted your privacy settings? Is everything you’ve made available to the public appropriate? Have you updated your LinkedIn profile so it’s comprehensive and showcases your skills?
Many recruiters review an applicant’s social media, but the use of that information isn’t fully understood. Early research has produced inconsistent results. The ethical implications of this practice are also points of research and debate.
You’re an Out-of-Town Candidate
Maybe you live outside the area and the employer prefers local candidates. There are some things you can do to up your chances of getting an interview if you’re job searching long distance. A few handy tips can help you find a job in a new city, regardless of where you’re currently located.
Other Applicants Are Better Qualified
Your credentials are a good match, but there might just be stronger candidates. Unfortunately, you didn’t make the cut. Take a look at the skills the employer was seeking and consider if you need to upgrade yours to become a more competitive candidate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do employers take the time to let you know they don’t want to interview you, or are they just silent?
Many employers don’t take the time to notify applicants that they were rejected. But silence doesn’t mean that a decision has yet been made. You might still have a shot at securing an interview if you haven’t heard back. You may be able to get an interview if you follow up after not hearing anything.
Can you apply to the same company more than once?
You might not have landed an interview the first time around, but the hiring manager may remember your name (and persistence) from the last round of hiring when another position opens up. You’ll be able to call or email to make a case for getting a chance to be considered if you can identify a contact person.