Updated: Mar 24
Before I started writing resumes, I was a recruiter for a multinational engineering company called AECOM. For the four years I was there, I learned the ins and outs of the recruiting lifecycle, from creating a job post all the way to offering the candidate a job.
After I left and started career consulting, I noticed that my clients fell into two groups: those that weren't receiving job interviews and those that weren't receiving job offers. In both cases, the end result was the same - no job.
After doing a little bit of research, I found that all of my clients shared common traits - they were all making the same mistakes during their search, which was costing them valuable job opportunities.
Below are eight reasons why you're not getting the job.
#1 You're using the "spray and pray" approach
This is where you use one resume to apply to multiple jobs. It's an approach that favours speed over quality under the misconception that it's a numbers game. While that's partially true, the return on investment from crafting tailored, high quality applications is far higher.
Applying to five jobs that your resume is targeted might result in two to three responses - a 40 to 60% response rate. Applying to 100 jobs with a non-tailored resume might get you five responses (a meagre 5% response rate). See the difference?
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#2 Not researching the company
I saw a LinkedIn post where an executive level professional (think VP or Director) was asked if she knew who the name CEO during a job interview. She did not, and recounted how she felt she had lost the opportunity after that moment. Admittedly (and I'm paraphrasing here), there were other issues during the interview that also contributed to her failure.
Researching the company falls under the umbrella of quality over quantity. It sets you apart from 80% of other applicants that have already made it to interview process. So if five people are being interviewed and you're the only one that is committed enough to know about the company and show it, you're already a step above.
What should you look for when doing your research? A few examples:
Industry the company is in (obvious, but you'd be surprised)
Products and services they offer
Their public reputation
Public outreach initiatives
Projects they're engaged in
Names of the C-level personnel
Take your success into your own hands.
#3 Failing to showcase prior your successes
One way that hiring managers gauge your value as a candidate is by observing your past successes.
What kind of results have you had with your past employers?
How did your work positively impact business operations?
What were times that you showed initiative by identifying and rectifying problems?
Failing to showcase examples of past accomplishments on a resume and failing to properly sell these accomplishments during the interview are key reasons why you either won't get called for the interview, or if you do, won't make it far into the hiring process.
It's also not enough to just say things like "I improved efficiency by 40% by through a solid business strategy". Hiring managers can see through statements like this because they're not informative. What specifically did you do to achieve that 40% efficiency improvement? If you actually did that thing, you should be able to shed some light on your process.
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About the Author
James Cooper is a Professional Resume Writer, member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.
Have questions about resume writing? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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