“Why am I not getting interviews?” is a common question I hear from job seekers.
It can be incredibly frustrating to apply for jobs you’re qualified for and not hear back. You might start to question your self-worth and even ask whether there’s something wrong with you.
First, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are fabulous. Second, job searching isn’t personal. Not getting interviews has nothing to do with you or your value as a professional or human.
(A quick note before I dive in: If you’re landing interviews but not job offers, you’ll want to read this article instead, as I share what to do if you’ve had a great interview, or multiple interviews, but haven’t received a job offer.)
Now, let’s discuss some of the reasons why you might not be hearing back about jobs you’ve applied for and how to address them:
1. Your target is too broad.
For starters, what kinds of companies and roles are you applying to? If you’ve been laid off, are experiencing burnout, or are trying to quickly escape a toxic work environment, you might be tempted to mass apply to any open role you find online that remotely aligns with your background, experience, and skills.
While a “spray and pray” approach sounds good in theory, it can backfire and result in you not hearing back about jobs. This is particularly true in today’s saturated market where employers can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for a single job opening.
Solution: The adage “quality over quantity” rings true when applying for roles. Get clear on your target and seek out companies and positions that align with your career requirements and preferences, then customize your resume to each job posting.
2. You’re forgetting to customize your resume.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Customizing my resume, Kyle? I’m looking for a job, I don’t have time for that!” I want you to reflect on the efficacy of your current approach… If you’re reading this article, your job search approach could likely use a little optimizing, so what’s the harm in giving customizing your resume a try?
Importantly, when you have a clear target in mind (step 1) and apply to similar roles at analogous companies, customizing your resume takes minimal time and effort, yet can significantly increase your chances of hearing back from recruiters.
Solution: When you find a role you’re interested in, set a timer and spend 20 to 30 minutes tailoring your resume using keywords from the job posting before submitting it.
3. You’re blending in.
Speaking of your resume, how are using it to call attention to what sets you apart from other applicants? One of the biggest mistakes I see job seekers make is blending in with the crowd.
In today’s job market, it’s often not enough to simply be qualified, or even overqualified, for a role. Instead, you must differentiate yourself from the crowd and quickly communicate your unique value proposition (AKA your fabulousness).
Solution: Use your resume, as well as your cover letter and LinkedIn profile, to showcase what sets you apart from other applicants. Get specific and back up your statements with examples and results.
4. You’re skimping on networking.
Once you send off your application, are you following up and networking with people at your target company? If not, this is a missed opportunity to stand out in the saturated job market.
I recognize that there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there when it comes to networking for a job, which can be confusing to navigate and discern. As a staunch introvert, I also recognize that networking can be intimidating and quickly overwhelming, which is why I often recommend beginning with LinkedIn, as you can reach out to people from the comfort of your couch.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to write a LinkedIn networking message that gets responses from people at your target companies.
Solution: Each time you apply to a role, reach out to a handful of people at your target company requesting an informational interview to learn more about the culture, role, and interview process.
5. You’re not asking for help.
Finally, who is supporting you in your job search efforts? Are you trying to go at what is often a stressful, anxiety-producing process alone?
While easier said than done, don’t feel bad asking for help if you’re feeling stuck. It can be invaluable to have someone serve as a second set of eyes on your resume and LinkedIn profile, review your job search strategy, connect you with a network, or even just be a listening ear.
Solution: Ask people you trust, including mentors, for support with your job search. You might also consider speaking with a career coach to receive another perspective as to why you’re not getting interviews.
On a final note, know that the reason you’re not getting interviews is not personal. Your role as a job seeker is to simply understand why you’re not hearing back, and then address the problems. You’ve got this!