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As a recent graduate or someone looking to switch jobs, you might have been applying for jobs that you’re convinced you can do pretty well.
But despite having a good resume and applying to a few dozen jobs, you are not getting any calls. The good news is that there are a few things you can fix to change to get better results.
You are not getting interviews because your resume is not being read or is being judged as a bad fit for the position of the company. To avoid this, you must apply with a personalized cover letter and edit your resume each time to highlight experience and skills that are relevant to the opening.
In this article, you will discover 9 possible reasons why you are not getting interviews, including:
- High applicant volume
- Not applying to enough positions
- Prominent turn-offs in the cover letter or CV
- Being underqualified or overqualified
- Experience or skills that aren’t relevant
- Poorly written resume
- Poorly formatted resume
- Low-quality cover letter
- There are too many applicants
1. High Applicant Volume
To understand why you’re not getting interviews without taking the lack of response personally, you must acknowledge the fact that can be too many candidates for the type of jobs you’re looking for.
At some points during the economic cycle, recruiters start receiving 200 CVs per position. And whenever they find enough potential candidates, interviewers stop looking through CVs.
As easy as it is to say that the job market is bad, you must focus on what you can do, which in this case is to skill up, get relevant experience outside the paid job structure, and get leverage (like social media exposure), so you can stand out from the crowd.
2. You’re Not Applying to Enough Openings
A reason that goes hand-in-hand with the “too many applicants” hypothesis is that you’re not applying to enough positions.
The more applicants there are for your career track, the higher the number of positions you must apply to. Early on, this could mean applying for jobs that aren’t ideal.
But even when you’re broadening your target pool, you must not apply for jobs you cannot bear being in for two years. That can result in job-hopping, which can hinder your future applications’ effectiveness.
3. Your CV/Cover Letter Has a Red Flag
Job-hopping is just one of the red flags that employers avoid. Many candidates fail to recognize a typo or grammatical error in their cover letter, which can be equally detrimental to their chances. To get an interview, you must avoid making a negative first impression. Some of the common red flags are:
- Generic cover letter – While portions of your cover letter, like the ones talking about your accolades, can be copy-pasted, the letter itself has to be very specific.
- Grammatical errors and typos – These communicate a lack of attention to detail that cannot be forgiven when you don’t have credibility pre-built with the employer.
- Job hopping – If you stay in one position less than a year once, you will be asked about it. And if you’ve stayed in positions for less than two years more than once, you’re considered a job hopper and will not even be given a chance to justify yourself.
- Work gap – A work gap of over 6 months is considered a yellow flag if not a red one. If you were occupied with something, it is better to place it in the CV and mention the tasks you executed and what you accomplished.
4. You’re Underqualified
While your CV has a high chance of getting buried in a pile of applications, most people who apply to any given job are not qualified for it. You must ask yourself, “can I perform better than a hundred people in this role?” instead of, “will I manage to do this job if it is given to me?”
This will help you judge which positions are worth applying to. While submitting a higher volume of applications will increase your odds of getting a job, you’ll need to be qualified for said positions to stand a chance.
5. You’re Overqualified
While being underqualified can get you dismissed, being overqualified can sometimes get you an interview. In most cases, though, interviewers are skeptical.
There are two scenarios that employers want to avoid: you leaving the company soon after starting the job and you faking experience and credentials. Your CV reflecting how overqualified you are can trigger these suspicions.
6. Your Experience and Skill Set Aren’t a Match for the Role
Overqualified and underqualified are oversimplified terms to reflect an experience duration mismatch. But there is also a possibility of an experience type mismatch. You might have skills and experience that are relevant to other jobs.
But you’re applying for ones where your career capital is not relevant. This happens when one is pivoting in their career. It is essential to have a CV and cover letter that communicate how your previous skills relate to the role you’re aiming for.
7. Your Resume Isn’t Communicating Your Value
Speaking of resumes, you must look at yours from the perspective of a disengaged and overworked third party.
Is your resume showcasing you in the best way possible? Your CV must show you in the best light possible, even when being skimmed.
Candidates often read their own resumes in detail and believe the overall effect is impressive. But what they fail to realize is that potential employers don’t read their submissions as attentively in the earlier stages. A resume must, at first glance, sell the employer on reading the document in detail. Here are a few ways to do that.
Your CV needs to highlight strengths that align with the specific position. It has to be tailored to the position, which means that each CV must be altered slightly to present the most important positive aspects of your experience and omit irrelevant experience.
Must Have an Inverted Pyramid Content Structure
In journalism, the inverted pyramid is a metaphor that dictates the structure of distribution of important information in a news article. The most important and valuable information goes at the beginning and the least valuable at the end.
Your resume must have your strongest highlights in the summary section and the most detail in your recent experience section.
8. Your Resume Doesn’t Have the Right Format
For some jobs, the number of applicants is so high that CVs need to be skipped or read based on split-second impressions. And the greatest sign of an irrelevant resume is that it does not fit an industry’s format.
For instance, CVs in the legal and finance sectors need to be monochrome and as flairless as possible. On the other hand, CVs for artistic and creative roles must have aesthetic appeal. Knowing what the standard is for the job you’re applying for will help you get past the split-second test barrier.
9. Your Cover Letters Need to Be Better
Finally, the reason you’re not getting interviews is that your CV is not being read because of your cover letter. Your cover letter cannot be generic and must be crafted for each position and the company. It must make the other party feel like they will miss out if they do not read your resume.
To write a compelling cover letter, you must:
- Make it more robust and personalized
- Showcase how you are a fit for the role
- Show that you have the experience for the specific role
- Written with the employer’s needs in mind
To make sure you get interviews, you must treat applying for job openings as a full-time job. Take time from 9 to 5 and apply carefully to relevant positions only.
When you apply to fewer positions with more deliberation, you get to edit your CV and write your cover letter to be optimally persuasive to each employer. Over time, you apply to more positions and get more interviews than you know what to do with.