If you’re an active job seeker, you may apply for numerous jobs each day before trying again when you see something new. You may be applying for so many jobs at the same time that when you don’t hear back from a company you’re not too bothered. However if you only apply sparingly (say two jobs a week) then you remember where you’ve applied and you want to know why you haven’t heard anything back from the employer. There are plenty of reasons why you never got the chance to be offered an interview. For all you know, you narrowly missed out. Here are the reasons why:
Your lack of research shows
When you apply for a job, there are two ways to do it. A methodical and somewhat slower way and a faster way where you hope for the best. I’ve done both myself. If you’re not showing any knowledge about the company or the relevant skills in your application then you’re at risk of becoming side-lined straight away. Make sure you take the time to go through your application as thoroughly as possible. Yes, it is boring and when you’re done with it you’ll be so sick of looking at it – this is how you should feel before sending off an application.
You’re a cut and paste person
And it shows. So many jobs, so little time. You end up sending the same cover letter everywhere including generic and cliché phrases. It’s such a ‘normal’ cover letter that you end up appearing to be extraordinarily boring to the employer. The ‘one size fits all’ mind set is really damaging when you’re looking for jobs. Think of how many people you’re competing with; there are plenty of others who have taken the time to write a well thought out cover letter tailored specifically to the job they’re applying for.
Your CV is in the wrong format
If you’ve used some obscure programme to type up your CV, you could be missing out on getting a potential interview because the recipient couldn’t open it on their end. Make sure you have versions in different formats, and send the employer two if you can. Usually one in Word and a PDF version are acceptable. Another tactic worth trying is to send it to yourself on a different computer and see if you can open it. You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity for this one silly mistake.
First impressions are always crucial when an employer decides to read your CV. To avoid catastrophic CV errors have a look at my article here.
You’re in fantasy-land with the salary expectations
If you think you can either ask for more than the job is advertising in the first instance of applying or ask for more than you know you’re worth, the employer will know straight away. It’s a good idea to negotiate salary when you can but there is a time and place in the recruitment process to do this. Keep salary out of it if you can. If you can’t and you need to mention a preference, have a look at the industry norm in your part of the country for your level of expertise. Aim slightly higher if you can, but don’t go overboard. It’ll portray some really negative things about your character.
Making mistakes in the application
Some job application processes are really specific. You may be asked really explicit things such as attaching documents in a certain format or using a particular font in your application. Some request that your CV doesn’t have text boxes or certain contact details. These are sometimes designed for no other reason than to test your attention to detail. Other times it’s for genuine reasons, and all comes down to how you’ve been applying for jobs. If you pick and choose your jobs carefully, you’re far less likely to be making silly errors.
You’re bothering the employer with your enthusiasm
If you keep hassling the employer with emails before the position has even closed or if you’re incessantly emailing and phoning them to see where in the process your application is, then you’ll get disregarded instantly. People don’t like to be harassed, and when they have a lot of applications to go through, they may be finding a reason to say no at this stage rather than to say yes. Being passionate is great; being annoying is not.
They changed their mind on the job itself
Perhaps the employer decided to recruit internally instead for the role or they stopped advertising the position altogether, realising that they probably didn’t need it after all. This is completely out of your control but it does happen. Onto the next one!
These are all really easy things you can do to make sure you can say you ‘tried your best’. If you’re careless with your application then many employers won’t want to see you. Job searching isn’t an easy task. It’s long, arduous and boring but it needs to be done properly and efficiently on your end. Good luck!