Figuring out why you’re not getting job interviews can be frustrating because it requires you to rethink your job search approach.
This guide will go over the most common reasons why you can’t get an interview, and what you can do about it.
1. You Need More Experience
Here is one of the most common reasons behind why you’re not getting interviews. It’s fine to be ambitious and apply for jobs that help you further your career. But those jobs should fall in line with the scope of your experience.
A lack of work experience is an instant disqualifier, and most hiring managers won’t look into your application any further if you don’t meet their requirements. Look at the job posting to understand what the company is after. You can make up for less-than-ideal experience levels with education, but no amount of schooling will make up for significant experience deficits.
For example, a company isn’t going to hire a new college grad for a C-suite executive position. Be realistic about the jobs you apply to and stick to openings with requirements matching your experience.
2. Your Background Isn’t a Good Fit for the Position
You might find a great job that you’re seemingly qualified to get on paper. But if your background doesn’t match the position, that might be why you’re not getting interviews.
This scenario happens more than you think. For example, say that you have several years of managerial experience. So, you focus your search on leadership roles and apply to one that involves leading a team to complete marketing campaigns. But there’s just one problem: Your managerial experience is in retail.
In that example, you have zero marketing experience. While you fit the bill in terms of qualifications, your industry background isn’t the best fit.
3. There are Mistakes and Typos in Your Resume
Unfortunately, silly mistakes like this do happen. If your resume is riddled with typos and errors, it’s not exactly the best first impression. Your resume should exemplify your professionalism and preparedness.
Issues with basic grammar and spelling are huge red flags. If you’re careless about something as important as this, what will stop you from making silly mistakes when you get the job? In most cases, this problem will pull you out of consideration immediately.
Always proofread your resume. When you’re done proofreading, check it over again! You can even share it with someone else so they can give it a good look-over.
Your resume should be perfect. Take the time to ensure that it is.
4. You’re Giving Up Too Soon
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when searching for a job is putting all your eggs in one basket or thinking it will be easy. No matter how qualified you think you are for a specific position, it’s important to remember that there are possibly hundreds of other candidates vying for the same role. The odds are not always in your favor.
Getting discouraged after applying to a handful of jobs isn’t the way to go. The best course of action is to apply for more jobs per week. While this will take more time and effort to tailor your resume for each job, it will increase your chances. Of course, all situations are unique, but you should never assume that you’ll get an interview after submitting a small number of applications.
If you’re worried about why you’re not getting job interviews, you could simply be giving up too early. The more jobs you apply for, the better your odds of landing an interview!
5. The Job You’re Applying for Isn’t Near Where You Live
Are you applying for jobs in an area where you don’t currently live? That could be making things more challenging.
Job-seekers looking to move often apply long before they uproot their life and settle in a new city. It’s the responsible thing to do, and most experts recommend that you don’t move to a new place before you have work lined up.
Unfortunately, some companies won’t consider applicants that live outside their operational area. You could address this discrepancy in your cover letter. Doing so may prevent hiring managers from rejecting your application outright.
But there are still companies that don’t want to move forward with those applicants. Some organizations don’t offer any leeway, whether it’s because they don’t want to deal with the complexities of arranging interviews or they aren’t interested in covering relocation costs.
Always check the job description. You may find information about whether they stick to local candidates or if they accept people wanting to relocate. Also, check out our guide on how to get a job in another state for additional tips if there’s a certain position or company you’re interested in.
6. You’re in a Competitive Field
Sometimes, the answer to your problem is this simple. If you’re applying for an ultra-competitive job, there’s likely a massive pool of talented candidates trying to do the same thing. Some jobs have a supply that severely outweighs the demand, creating tons of competition during the job search.
There’s not much you can do here except make your resume and application as compelling as possible. You can also explore opportunities outside your desired city to see if more options are available. For example, if you are interested in working in New York City finance, expand your search to companies in New Jersey which may be a little less competitive.
One trick that can help is setting up alerts with job search websites. Getting your application in as soon as possible could give you a better chance of getting noticed by hiring managers looking to hire quickly.
Another tip is to tap into or develop contacts inside the companies you are interested in who will serve as referrals.
7. You’re Not Customizing Your Resumes
As we discussed earlier, applying to more jobs can increase your chances of getting an interview. But does that mean you should send the same resume for each open role? While that would save time, it can also work against you.
Tailoring your resume for every job opportunity is the best approach. A tailored resume does a better job of showing the recruiter exactly how you are qualified for the job. Doing this extra work shows you’re careful enough to do your due diligence. Hiring managers want to see precisely why you are qualified for the job, and a generic resume won’t cut it.
Fine-tune every resume to make your application stand out each time.
8. Your Social Media Profiles Don’t Reflect Well on You
Here’s an overlooked reason for applicants not getting a job interview.
We live in a time when learning more about someone takes nothing more than a Google search. The ubiquity of social media makes it easy to find you. Even if you don’t provide those links, hiring managers can (and often will) do their due diligence to find them.
If your social media profiles aren’t flattering, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a job offer. This is a common mistake new college grads make. They put all the time and effort into crafting impressive resumes only to get pulled from the running due to some questionable photos taken during their rambunctious college years.
It happens to experienced professionals, too. As a new employee, you would represent the brand. So, you must be extra careful.
Consider wiping your profiles of anything offensive, unflattering, or unprofessional. You can also set your accounts private to ensure that no one sees them but your followers.
9. There are Gaps in Your Work Experience You Haven’t Addressed
If you have sizable employment gaps, that could be a reason why you’re not getting interviews. Anything less than six months is usually no cause for concern to hiring managers, but gaps longer than that could be a red flag.
It makes hiring managers wonder what happened and caused you to experience that employment lapse. When it’s easier to go with a candidate with no issues, most companies will take you out of the running.
You must be forthright and explain employment gaps on your cover lever. Be proactive about this “red flag” and provide peace of mind. Using your cover letter to explain that gap is better than hoping hiring managers miss it.
10. You Aren’t Using a Chronological Resume Format
There are a few different schools of thought on how to write the perfect resume. However, chronological formats are the gold standard.
You might hear about functional resume formats. They group your work history into functions rather than dates. In theory, it allows you to highlight skills rather than work experience.
But in reality, it often makes things more confusing. Most hiring decision-makers prefer chronological formats. They like to see where you got your work experience and when it happened.
If you don’t use that chronological format, that might result in recruiters passing on your resume for one that does list work experience chronologically, therefore, you miss out on job interviews!
11. You Haven’t Included Accomplishments on Your Resume
There’s a time and place to be humble. But your resume? That’s not it!
Don’t be afraid to list out your accomplishments. Acknowledge what you did and how you made an impact in each of your previous jobs. You should at least highlight some of your biggest wins.
For example, saying “Responsible for leading a small team” doesn’t tell much about how you worked. But adding details like “Lead a small team to increase revenue by 60 percent in a single fiscal year” is something that will impress hiring managers.
It’s a subtle change, but it makes a big difference.
12. There are Educational Requirements You Haven’t Met
Always review the educational requirements in a job description. These could also be certifications. They are usually qualifiers that companies don’t offer wiggle room on when considering applicants.
Many jobs require specific degrees or certifications. If you’re wondering why you’re not getting interviews and you don’t meet the requirements, this is likely your answer.
Avoid this issue by narrowing your search down to jobs with educational prerequisites matching your own.
13. You’re Applying to the Same Positions as Everyone Else
Job boards and listing websites are fantastic for learning about new opportunities. But here’s the thing: Everyone else is using those same platforms to learn about jobs. If you see a sought-after position on a job board, there’s a good chance that many other people have already applied.
Right off the bat, the odds aren’t in your favor.
Don’t limit yourself to those often-used channels. One way to bypass the job boards is to create alerts directly on the company career pages of companies you are interested in. This targeted approach notifies you when the company posts jobs you are interested in and allows you to apply directly through their career portal.
You should also try networking and reaching out to colleagues in your circle. Social media sites like LinkedIn are perfect for this. Take full advantage of them!
Sometimes, you can learn about open positions before the hiring manager even gets the chance to publish a listing. That gets you ahead of the curve and shrinks the competition pool.
14. You’re Overqualified
Hiring managers might not even consider extending an interview offer if you’re overqualified.
If your work history and experience show that you typically work more demanding jobs, hiring managers will wonder why you would be interested in taking a step back. What’s the catch?
It makes them question your motivations. They may think the job won’t challenge you enough, forcing you to become complacent and uninspired. Or, they might feel that your goal is to work there temporarily as you search for something better.
Both worries are valid and problematic enough to take your resume out of the running. Try to focus on jobs that match your qualifications.
15. You Have a Lengthy Resume
It’s tempting to stuff your resume with every accolade and relevant tidbit you can think to jot down. But doing so could actually end up with you not getting interviews!
Modern hiring managers want concise documents that show relevant qualifications. It should be easy to read and pull information from. Long paragraphs and multiple pages of text are too cumbersome to deal with.
As a general rule, resumes for those with less than 5 years of work experience are one page. Those with more than 5 years of experience might find it necessary to use two pages. In very rare examples, for doctorate-level jobs, you may need three pages to list your qualifications.
Keep things short, use negative space to improve readability, and say what you need in fewer words.
Now that you know some of the most likely reasons why you’re not getting interviews, it’s time to start addressing them. Take an honest look at how you’ve been approaching your job search and make the necessary tweaks!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.