You’ve been at it for months. In the beginning applying to jobs you really liked, where you thought you could make a difference, at companies you’d love to work for. But as time wore on and your applications seemingly fell on deaf ears, through desperation, you began applying to anything and everything related to your skills and experience. Still nothing. It’s one of the most frustrating things in the world, we know, especially when you don’t hear anything back, how are you ever supposed to figure out what you’re doing wrong? Here are our top 5 reasons why you may be getting the cold shoulder.
Your CV Isn’t Grabbing Recruiters’ Attentions
You have seconds. Literally, a matter of seconds, 30 if you’re lucky, to catch the recruiter’s attention with your CV. With the sheer number of applicants for each position, and the enormous piles of CVs a recruiter has to go through, yours needs to stand out for your application to have any kind of chance.
Make sure that the top part of your CV is full of pertinent information, don’t waste valuable real estate with your address, and other, equally unimportant information. Your name, an email address, and perhaps a link to your LinkedIn or personal website, is all the contact information you need. Focus on demonstrating what you can do for the company in this role, whether that’s through a ‘Summary’ or ‘Objective’, or diving straight into your experience.
Spend some time assessing your CV’s layout as well. Giving it a less conventional look, and making it more visually appealing, will help yours stand out from all the others.
One Size Does Not Fit All
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a modern day job search is to assume that one CV, and one Cover Letter, are suitable for every application. Gone are the days of one size fits all, and if this is the approach you have been following thus far, it may be the reason why your applications have been met with silence.
As mentioned above, you have mere seconds to impress a recruiter with your CV. For this reason you need to ensure that yours is concise, precise, and to-the-point. Tailor your resume to each individual job application. Highlight your skills that match the specific position, and previous experience where you have demonstrated how you could bring value to the company in this role. Leave out all irrelevant work experience and skills, you don’t want to waste what limited space you have.
The same goes for your cover letter. A general ‘I am very interested in applying for the position of…’ is just not going to cut it. Simply put, if your cover letter reads like it was copy-pasted from a template, without making any alterations, you might as well not bother, and you are wasting possibly your best chance to impress the recruiter.
You Failed to Demonstrate What You Have to Offer
When it comes to your Cover Letter, don’t just repeat the content of your CV. Explain why you want to work for the company in question, maybe through a short personal story. Then go on to demonstrate what you can do for them, how you can help improve the company with your skills & experience, or any ideas you may have. Your Cover Letter may be the best way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants, and leave a lasting impression. Approach it as a sales pitch; ‘Hire me because here is what I can do for you…’, rather than ‘I want this job because…’
You Are Underqualified
Maybe your skillset and experience doesn’t quite match up with what the company is looking for. You probably know that when applying, but you think that despite your lack of experience, your ideas and skills could make you a valuable asset to the company in this role. Maybe you’re right, but sometimes it simply comes down to the fact that there were applicants more qualified than you, and thus more suited to the position. If you do find yourself going up against more experienced candidates there are things you can do. Most importantly, don’t draw attention to your lack of experience with statements like ‘although I don’t have much experience in…’
You Are Overqualified
Sometimes you are underqualified, it happens, other times you suffer from the opposite problem. When you have been on the job hunt for a long time it’s completely natural to lower your expectations, and start looking at positions that you may be a little overqualified for. We understand, you just really want a job, and although you are more qualified than necessary for certain positions, you still have interest in them. When applying for such jobs that is what you have to demonstrate to the recruiter, that you are interested in the actual role, not just the paycheque. When recruiters see an overqualified individual applying for a role that is arguably below them, they may worry that this is just a stop gap until you find a better job. Nobody wants go through the process of hiring an employee that will pick up and leave after only a few months. Try and demonstrate how your greater experience will benefit the company, and explain what it is that interests you about this role in particular.
If any of these reasons sound familiar to you, then you should have a look at the relevant areas and see what you can do to fix the issues. Hopefully by addressing them, your job search will start to become a lot more fruitful.