Why Didn't I Get a Job Interview?

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!

Image from pixabay.com

In all science jobs - whether in chemistry, molecular biology, quality assurance, engineering or R&D - a well-written CV is extremely important.

Today we're looking at 10 of the biggest CV mistakes to avoid when you're applying for a job in science. 

1) Too long

You shouldn't require more than two or three pages for a CV. Venturing onto a fourth or even fifth page is a rookie CV mistake, and employers will get the impression that you are disorganised and tend to ramble on.

2) Misspellings and typos

This is an obvious CV mistake to avoid but that doesn't prevent it being made time and time again. Be sure to run your CV through a grammar and spelling checker before you send it off to any prospective employers. 

3) Irrelevant information

Talking about ghost hauntings at your last job (unless you're applying for a ghostbuster job!) or that you were the best dancer in the office isn't likely to endear you to science recruitment agencies seeking only salient information. Be sure to check if everything on your CV is relevant before making the CV mistake. 

4) Falsified information

Saying that you passed a degree, diploma or certificate that you actually failed isn't a mere bending of the truth - it's an outright lie that will almost certainly catch up with you later.

5) Cliches

Simply saying that you are a "good communicator" or "work well in a team" without backing it up with any hard evidence is meaningless to any demanding recruiter and another common CV mistake.

6) Wrong contact details

Even the most brilliant CV might be of little use if the phone number or email address on it is wrong.  Be wary of writing .com where you should have said .co.uk, or giving the address of your previous rather than current address

7) A one-size-fits-all approach

Don't send out the same CV for an information systems job as you would for a procurement role - the CV needs to match the employer's needs, so adapt it to each application.

8) Vague explanations

Simply saying that you are looking for a new challenge that offers the opportunity for professional growth doesn't much serve a potential employer. Instead, state something more specific that focuses on their needs, not just your own.

9) Fancy font

You might want to stand out through your CV, but you can do that best by demonstrating your unique qualifications for the role, rather than merely using an unconventional font that might merely distract the reader.

10) Name and personal details in the header

The technology used by many science recruitment firms today to process applications may not pick up information included in the document header, so we would advise that such crucial details are kept in the main text.

There are many potential reasons why you may not secure an interview and many common CV mistakes that can be made. Don't allow any of these easily avoided errors to be the cause of your own next job application failure. 

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