Posted by Brian McCullough
Today I’m going to start a “why” series on this blog. A lot of the questions I get from readers (and plenty of the posts in our reader forum) revolve around the question “why?” So I’m going to try to offer some generic reasons “why” things might not be working out in your job search.
Not every point will apply to you, but you should consider each one seriously because if you can change the one or two things that are tripping you up, then you’ll hear more “yes” on your way to landing a new job.
Why didn’t I get the interview?
So you’ve been sending out resume after resume but you’re not getting interviews. You’re not even getting call-backs or emails! Why? What are you doing wrong? Consider these possibilities:
- Your resume is hurting you. A resume is all you’ve got to make a first impression. It’s like a pickup line in a singles bar. If what you’re doing isn’t working, then you have to look at what you’re saying. Maybe your resume is not effective enough. Maybe it’s not standing above the crowd. Worse: some resumes make basic mistakes that could actually hurt your chances of landing that interview. Consider tweaking or even rewriting your resume wholesale. If you’re not getting results, then tweak the one thing that is your calling card. Of course, I would strongly recommend engaging professional resume services to help you out. But you know I’m biased on that front.
- You’re trying too hard. 200 resumes sent out does not equal 200 interviews. If you’re taking the shotgun approach to job applications, then you’re doing it wrong. Seriously study the openings out there and try a targeted application approach. Focus on the 5-10 most likely positions and do your best to stand out for those.
- You’re not qualified. Be honest with yourself. Are you applying for jobs that are over your head? You might really want that prestigious job, but maybe you’re just not qualified for it yet. If you’re applying for jobs that are out of your league, then you’re just wasting time. Try focusing on jobs that are attainable. Be realistic about your qualifications.
- You’re not paying attention. The only information you have about what the employer wants is in that job ad. So, is your application/resume targeting what the job ad says the employer is looking for? Have you done your homework and addressed what they say they’re looking for? If you’re just sending out generic resumes without taking the time to do some research and tailor your resume to what they say they need, then you might as well not apply at all.
- You’re late. In this job market, any job opening can rapidly attract hundreds of applicants. If you’re applying to a job posted 2 weeks ago, you could be completely perfect for it, but your application just joins the pile that has been building all that time. It may seem annoying to constantly monitor the job boards and try to jump on new postings, but it could be well worth your time to do so.