Virtually every job seeker experiences rejection at some point in their journey. No matter how much time you spend fine-tuning your CV...no matter how much effort you put into writing your cover letter...no matter how much you really really want the job...there's sadly no guarantee that you'll make it to the interview stage. Sometimes you'll get a politely-worded rejection email from your prospective employer, but sometimes you just won't hear back from them at all.
In either case, you'll probably end up asking yourself:
Why didn't I get an interview?
Today, we'd like to suggest some possible answers to that question. Of course, there are all sorts of reasons why an employer might choose not to offer an interview; it might be that other applicants were more experienced, or that the position had been filled before you even expressed an interest. Sometimes it's just out of your control.
For the purposes of this post, however, we're going to focus on things that you can control. Take these five things into account the next time you apply for a job, and with any luck, you'll be rehearsing answers and picking out an outfit for that big job interview before you know it!
1. Your application was too long and rambling.
It's important to keep your CV and cover letter reasonably concise. When an employer has a huge stack of job applications to go through, they generally won't want to spend too long on each one, so make sure your documents are easy to skim-read. The important details—relevant qualifications, impressive achievements, similar positions you've held in the past—should leap off the page, and that won't happen if they're buried in paragraphs and paragraphs of waffle.
2. Your made spelling / grammar mistakes.
You don't need us to tell you that spelling errors and bad grammar can torpedo even the most qualified candidate's chances of securing a job interview. Always double-check your documents for typos before sending them (and ask a friend or family member to check them too, just to be sure).
3. You didn't tailor your application to the job you were applying for.
Employers can usually tell when you send them the same generic cover letter that you've sent to dozens of other companies. Writing a new document every time you apply for a new job is tedious and time-consuming, but ultimately, you're more likely to get the interview if the employer feels like you're specifically interested in (and suitable for) the role they're offering. Consider tweaking your CV each time you send it, too – you may want to highlight different experiences / achievements for different jobs.
4. You didn't make a convincing enough case for yourself.
The main aim of any job application is to argue that you are the right person for the job in question. When you get rejected for a role you really wanted, go back and read the job description – did your CV and cover letter convincingly argue that you meet the stated requirements? Could you have done a better job of explaining how your previous experiences made you a better prospective employee? Did you shout about your unique talents and skills, or could you have made them clearer?
5. The employer wasn't able to view your application.
It doesn't matter how sensational your job application is if the hiring manager can't open it. When submitting a CV / cover letter, make sure it's in a common file format, and send it to yourself first to make sure it opens without any issues. You might want to view it on a few different devices, too.
Need more job application advice? Read our CV & Cover Letter Checklist, or contact the HRS team to find out how we can help you to get the job you want!
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