We get it – the job search is tough. Sometimes it takes dozens of applications before something sticks, and even then, the initial interview might not go as planned. You might start to wonder, why won’t anyone hire me? Am I the problem?
Before you resign yourself to a jumbo bag of Doritos and a two-day Love Island marathon, we’re here to tell you that a) you are not the problem here and b) it is still absolutely possible to land a job that makes you excited to get up in the morning. The trick is figuring out what went wrong with your first few applications so you can correct them the next time around. Here are four possible reasons why you’re not getting hired and how to fix them.
The Problem: Your resume and cover letter are not tailored to the job.
The Fix: Recruiters are looking for the person who most closely matches the job description, especially for upper-level positions. And because they probably get dozens – if not hundreds – of applications a day, they don’t want to do any extra work to figure out who that is. Optimize your resume by including only your relevant experience (i.e. not your camp counseling job from 10 years ago) and keywords that match those in the job description. If the application asks for a cover letter, tailoring your message to the exact role and company you’re applying to will show recruiters that you put more time and energy into your response than hitting the “easy apply” button on LinkedIn.
The Problem: You’re applying to the wrong jobs.
The Fix: Take a look at the job description and honestly ask yourself if you have the skills and experience needed to fill this role. Even if there’s an opening for your dream job on Indeed, it’s better to honestly evaluate your resume in comparison to the job description than it is to set yourself up for disappointment later. Candidates are usually good at knowing when they’re underqualified for a position, but they have a harder time knowing when they’re overqualified. Recruiters are usually (and rightfully) hesitant to hire someone with gobs of experience to an entry-level role. How will they keep you engaged? Won’t you just leave once something more suitable comes along? Don’t undervalue yourself.
The Problem: You’re not telling people about your job search.
The Fix: Most people are hard enough on themselves during the job search process, so they’d rather avoid extra “input” from family and friends. But telling people you’re looking for a new job – whether they be a neighbor, a family member, or an old roommate – is actually a smart way to network. You’d be surprised how many times we hear stories about family friends or old work contacts connecting clients with new opportunities.
The Problem: The initial interview was a bust.
The Fix: You might also be surprised how many clients say they could have landed X or Y job if they had just practiced for the interview. Coming up with a list of common interview questions for your industry – and making sure you’ve fully researched the company in advance – is a key, and sometimes overlooked, part of your interview. Practice your answers in advance to help keep you from freezing or tripping up in an interview. This method is especially effective in a mock interview because it simulates the actual experience. But remember not to sound too rehearsed on day-of. If the company wanted a robot, they likely would have bought one already.
Franklin Buchanan, our CEO at Post Up Careers, can help you land the perfect job – even if you’re just starting out. We’ll help you navigate every stage of the job search process, from initial goal-setting to salary negotiations – and can help you best prepare to secure, and ace, that interview which can lead to your dream job. Contact us here to schedule a career coaching appointment.