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You start your job search with such enthusiasm and can't wait to get out there and show what you're capable of. Surely prospective employers are going to be falling over themselves to have you as part of their team.
Then that first 'thank you, but sorry...' email arrives. Then another. And another. Slowly, your passion fades and you begin to wonder whether you'll ever get a job.
So why don't people get job call backs or interviews? Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Too many applicants
- Not enough preparation on the resume and cover letter
- The shortlisting process isn't perfect
- The wrong job description
- You're overqualified
This has to be one of the most common reasons why you might not get a call back. You may be great for the role, but there may be another five who are just as perfect. For job advertisements that draw a lot of applicants, it only takes one who has that extra edge - like having a personal connection with the person looking through the applicants – that nudges you out.
Your CV and cover letter act as your first impression, but since they are just words, you can't charm the reader with your presence. Do spend enough time and effort into making your CV and cover letter look and sound good. Using action-orientated words to describe yourself or your work history is a small but powerful tweak that makes a huge difference, as it helps engage the reader. If you can, get a second opinion – ask a friend to proofread your work to catch out typos or clumsy wording.
Employers generally start selecting potential applicants by filtering out as many applicants as they can. They may be limited for time and only give each application a quick glance before putting them into the bin. That may not be the right way, but they're only human. In fact, the shortlisting process might even be initially carried out by a more junior employee, who might not know the specifics of the role very well. What's more, selections can be subjective – not every organisation uses objective selection criteria such as assessment centres. The person making the decision could simply be having a bad day, or basing their choices on the wrong information – leading to you being passed over for the wrong reasons.
The person who briefed the recruitment agency or placed the ad might not have accurately written the job description or the role and responsibilities. They may have missed out vital information. What you thought they were advertising for, they weren't.
The job isn't good enough for you, not the other way round. You may never know that if you don't follow up. If you don't hear back from a potential employer, sometimes it is good to drop a brief email to find out why.
Sometimes factors that are out of your control seem to "conspire" to keep you from getting a call back. But don't despair – a perfect job may be just around the corner. Keep on trying and you'll find the perfect job soon.