After submitting the application you get the immediate "we will contact you once we start the review process" email. No worries, they need time to look at applications and get back to you. A week passes and you don't think much of it, then two weeks goes by. After a while you start to wonder if they even looked at your application, or worse, if they saw it and hated it.
Unsure of why they never contacted you leaves you wondering what you could have done different, and without any feedback, you're likely to make the same mistakes again. My first job in the city involved helping unemployed citizens apply and follow up with employers. Now working closely with the human resources department at my current job, I've learned what aspects of a person's job application leads to someone never being contacted for that much wanted interview.
You didn't follow directions.Hiring managers have to sort through dozens, sometimes hundreds, of applications of people who are all qualified in one way or another. An instant way to get your application tossed in the 'no' pile is by not following the directions that make their job easier. If they ask for a cover letter, send one. If they want a one page resume, don't give them a single line extra. Follow the directions like your life depends on it, because your professional life does.
You didn't follow up.Many job postings feature the line "please no phone calls," but that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to email the hiring manager to follow up on your application. If the company makes no mention about not wanting to be contacted, don't be shy about reaching out and asking to know where they are the in hiring process. Many times, this let's employers know you are still interested in the job.
You didn't fit the job requirements.While many of us would like to think we are experts at everything, chances are there's a lot we once knew how to do but wouldn't have the first clue how to do now. In my case, Excel. Sure I can open a spreadsheet and Google my questions to get a job done, but I'm no expert. Take a serious look at how well you really fit the need.
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You were filtered out by application software.Unfortunately employers today are faced with so many applications that they have turned to software to make looking through applications more efficient. Computers scan through cover letters and resumes, identifying those that mention key words and choosing those which will be seen by the employer. If your resume and cover letter are not tailored for the job you are applying to, chances are they will be filtered out because of the lack of specific key words.
You made basic grammar and spelling mistakes.The job market is just too competitive for you to be making simple mistakes like this, which is why it's so important to review your resume before submitting and have another person look it over as well. One typo is understandable, multiple typos get annoying really fast. Give yourself a chance and triple check before submitting.
You didn't explain job gaps.Taking a few months to explore your options is understandable, but long gaps in your employment history raise red flags for employers. If you spent that time volunteering or taking courses, mention that in your resume, or better yet, your cover letter. Don't wait until an interview to explain a long absence, make it known that you were actively job seeking and expanding your skills.
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Your cover letter was generic.A cover letter is an opportunity to tell an employer why you are the best candidate for the job, which is why providing a generic cover letter is a disservice to yourself. Expand on your most applicable job experience and relate that experience to what you can offer to improve the organization. A great cover letter gives an employer a glimpse into what you are capable of and should leave them wanting to learn more, maybe during an interview?
What's your biggest struggle when it come to finding a new job? Do you focus your energy on creating a great resume, cover letter or preparing for interviews?