Why Can't I Get A Job?

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Being in the market for a job is often a stressful situation. Whether you’re just coming out of school and need employment or you’ve been laid off, finding and getting the right job opportunity can be difficult for many. The search can prove frustrating if you feel that you’re putting yourself out there and not getting anything back.

If you’re asking yourself “why am I still unemployed”, consider your situation and what you need to do to fix it!

You Never Hear Back After Applying

If you’re applying to dozens of postings and never hearing back, take a look at your resume. If you’re not tailoring your resume to each job you apply to, you’re limiting the chance of being considered. Many companies filter resumes in or out based on specific keywords from the job posting or qualifications. Make sure you’re adjusting your resume to reflect what the position is looking for.

When you submit your resume, you should also be submitting a personalized cover letter. Generic cover letters are obvious and make very little impression on recruiters and hiring managers. If you’re not going to personalize the cover letter to the company and for the opportunity, there’s no point in sending one. Companies don’t want to feel as if you’ve blasted your cover letter out to anyone with a working email address.

Even if times are tough, resist the urge to apply to any and all opportunities out there. Hiring managers won’t often consider those who are very overqualified for the position. They know that someone with 10 years of experience in project management isn’t going to be satisfied with an entry level position. They also know they likely can’t afford someone with 10 years of experience on their entry level budget. Save your applications for those positions you are qualified for but not grossly overqualified for.

We all like to think we can do a job from time to time, but do you have the skills to do the job? Avoid applying to jobs that you don’t meet at least 60% of the qualifications for. With so many candidates applying to one opportunity, it’s highly unlikely they’re going to consider the applicant who has no experience in the field but has an interest in the job.

You Don’t Make It Past The Initial Interview

If you get invited to a phone or in-person interview, it’s a great indicator that you’re applying to the right type of jobs. If you fail to make it past the initial phone screens or first interview, you may not interview well.

If you go to an interview unprepared, you’ll quickly lose the opportunity to a highly prepared competitor. Prepared means you know what the company is looking for in a candidate, you know about the company itself and have questions to ask, and you’ve practiced answering and elaborating on potential interview questions so the company knows what you have to offer.

Answering questions about gaps in employment or unsuccessful past jobs may be expected. If you’ve encountered a lay-off in your past or have a significant gap in your history, don’t be evasive. Failing to prepare an answer to address these areas in a way that prevents them from becoming a concern to the interviewers may be why you don’t get a call back.

Hiring managers are often interviewing multiple candidates in a day, sometimes all day. If your interview is boring, there’s little chance you’ll be passed onto the next round. Being qualified might not be enough if your interviewer can’t remember any significant detail about you without referring to notes.

You Lose The Offer To Another Candidate

If you’re not following up after every stage of the interview and reaffirming your interest in the position, you risk appearing less enthusiastic than other final candidates. Companies want to know that a candidate is excited about the opportunity and the organization.

Contacting references are one of the final steps before offering a candidate the position. If you’re providing references when asked and not receiving the offer, you may be providing the wrong references. It’s not enough to ask if a former supervisor or colleague will serve as an employment reference for you. You need to ensure they’re willing to provide a positive reference for you.

Salary negotiations often occur after a company has offered you the position. When asked during the interview stage what your salary requirements are, citing an extremely high salary figure may scare companies off. Think about how to phrase your response in future interviews – especially if your last position had you in a very high salary range. Make sure you indicate that you’re flexible and that your priority is to be successful in the position.

Good jobs and popular companies get a lot of applicants! Sometimes there’s nothing you did or didn’t do during an application or interview process that resulted in you not getting the job. Stay positive and be thoughtful when applying to the next job posting!

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
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Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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