You’ve been job hunting for weeks (or maybe even months) and have yet to even land an interview. Or maybe, you’ve managed to make it to the final stage in a hiring process… but still didn’t end up with the job.
Whatever the situation, job hunting is rarely fun for anyone. And depending on what challenges you’re personally facing while looking for the right next role, you’re also likely going to experience a range of different emotions during your job search journey – from overwhelmed, excited, frustrated, impatient and even invisible!
But back to the issue. If you’re having trouble landing a job, chances are it’s because of one of these common reasons:
1. Your resume and/or experience aren’t relevant enough for the job
If you don’t have experience that relates directly the position you’re applying for, you’re likely either being screened out before the hiring manager ever even takes a look or you’re being put straight in the “reject” pile since your background lacks the specific things the hiring manager is looking for. For example, you’ll need to have experience using certain platforms and tools to land a job that requires knowledge of those platforms and tools; or, you’ll need to have actually managed a team of people before if the role requires that you have management experience. “Communication skills” and “teamwork” are great to have but don’t really count, as they are way too broad.
2. There are errors in your application
If your resume contains typos, you’ve left required fields blank, or you didn’t share contact information, you’re likely not advancing in the hiring process, no matter how great of a candidate you think you are. That’s because you’ve essentially created a first impression of carelessness and / or inability to follow common sense directions, which is something most companies will pass over in a heartbeat.
3. You didn’t follow the application instructions
Another common pitfall in the job hunt is when candidates take shortcuts during the application process, whether by skipping sections or straight out not following directions throughout. This, like having errors in your application, demonstrates carelessness and/or inability (or unwillingness!) to follow directions – none of which are positive things. Those who follow the instructions are the ones who will be considered for an open position.
4. You appear to lack clarity in your career (either job-hopping or resume gaps)
If you’ve spent a year or less in more than one of your previous positions or have one or more large but unexplainable gaps in your resume, employers will be less likely to invest in you because they’ll wonder if you’ll be committed to the role. This is really unfortunate if this applies to your situation, but it’s the reality of the job hunt today.
5. You’re applying for the wrong jobs
Similar to having a resume that isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying to, if you’re in the habit of applying for jobs that you’re grossly under or overqualified for, that could be a likely reason you’re not finding a job. Sure, you might have some of the qualifications required – but do you have enough of them? It may be time to take (another) good, hard look at what your resume says you’re capable of.
6. Your search is too narrow
Just because you want to be a partner in a law firm or a high-level executive at an innovative company doesn’t mean you’re qualified; open your mind to building your career by starting in more junior or even entry-level positions to gain experience and grow your career to meet your goals. You may also need to consider applying outside of your ideal industry or location to build your resume across the skills you need to gain to be competitive.
7. Your network isn’t wide enough
It’s often a job seeker’s least favorite phrase but it’s often true: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In fact, a LinkedIn study showed that about 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. Whether or not that number is accurate today, the point still stands: getting to know people in various industries through networking opportunities and attending events that put you in the position to meet others who can either connect you with job opportunities might just be the job search tactic that you’ve been missing.
8. You didn’t make a great first impression
If you made it into an interview, but you showed up late or failed to dress appropriately for the setting (one level dressier than the job description requires, at minimum), you might not being making a strong enough first impression to stay memorable to the interview team.
9. You didn’t practice ahead of time
Candidates who arrive for an interview unprepared stand out as…unprepared. There are lots of freely available resources online to help you prepare for an interview, so there’s really no excuse; reading through and preparing answers for the most common interview questions for the roles you’re applying for and rehearsing prior to your interview will make a world of difference.
10. You don’t know enough about the company or industry
Even if you have little knowledge of the company and have never worked in the industry, you can impress an interview team by doing a solid amount of industry and company research in advance. Take time to learn as much as you can about the organization – especially it’s mission, vision, culture, and accomplishments – and the industry.
While actively addressing these 10 reasons for not getting a job doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll land the job of your dreams tomorrow, you’ll be way better off than if these things were hindering your job search.