get getting an interview?
Here are some common reasons why your application is not working.
No matter how strong your skills or experience are, you won't land a new
job without first securing an interview with a prospective employer. Job
seekers often consider this step of the hiring process the most
difficult – and perplexing. After all, how many times have you
considered your qualifications ideal for an open position only to never
hear from the HR about the application you submitted?
If you're looking for an edge, make sure you're not falling into these
You don't follow directions
Each company has a different procedure it asks applicants to follow for
submitting employment applications. Some ask that you use a form on
their web site while others prefer traditional phone calls or faxes.
Make sure you understand what the prospective employer seeks by
carefully reading the job listing. Then, follow the directions to the
letter. If you don't, your application will not be considered.
Not targeting your CV to the position
Sending out the same cover letter and CV to all companies isn't likely
to capture the attention of prospective employers. HR wants to know why
you're a good match for their specific business needs. So take the time
to research employers and customise your job search materials by
explaining why you're interested in a particular position and how you
could make a contribution to the company and their work.
Writing a generic cover letter
If your cover letter looks like it could have come from a word processor
template, right down to the "To Whom It May Concern," don't bother
sending it. HR look for a candidate who wants that specific position,
not someone who sends out applications en masse. Write a new cover
letter for each job application and include details specific to the job
Your cover letter isn't enticing
Think of your cover letter as an appetizer that convinces HR your CV,
the main course, is worth sampling. The best cover letters take select
details from the CV and expand upon them, explaining in depth how your
talents and experience can benefit the prospective employer.
You don't reference keywords
Companies that receive a high volume of CVs often use scanning software
that looks for certain keywords to determine which candidates to call
for interviews. More often than not, keywords come directly from the job
description. Terms such as "Microsoft Office," "accounts payable and
receivable" and "Cisco Certified Network Administrator" are examples. As
much as possible, ensure your CV and cover letter contain keywords.
Your application materials aren't perfect
Submitting an application that contains typos and grammatical errors is
perhaps the quickest way to foil your chances of securing an interview.
In fact, 84 percent of executives polled in a recent survey said it
takes just one or two errors to remove a candidate from consideration.
The reason: These types of mistakes show a lack of professionalism and
attention to detail. Make sure to carefully proofread your CV prior to
submitting it and ask a friend or family member to do the same.
Sending a cover letter or CV filled with grammatical mistakes and
typographical errors shows HR you don't care about the quality of your
work and probably not about the job, either.
Including your current work info as the best place to contact you
Making sure employers can get in touch with you is important, but they
shouldn't be contacting you at work. "Potential employers are going to
question if these people will search for a new job on their time," says
Kathy Sweeney, CV writer for the Write CV.
Focusing on yourself and not on the company in the cover letter
"When 'I' is the predominant subject – and there are times when it is
the only subject of all the sentences in the cover letter – it indicates
to me that they don't understand my organization and its needs, and, in
fact, says they don't care to know," says Dion McInnis, associate vice
president for university advancement at University of Houston-Clear
Lake. "And therefore, I don't care to know them."
You must focus on the needs of the company and not on you. Don’t use ‘I
believe’ or ‘I think’ they are not interested in your beliefs. HR wants
to know how you match the person criteria as advertised.
You don't know who to send your CV to
Though it's fine to start your cover letter with the generic salutation
"To Whom It May Concern," HR pay special attention to applications that
are addressed directly to them. If the job advertisement doesn't include
the HR manager's name, call the company and speak to the receptionist or
a member of the person's department. More often than not, you can obtain
the information fairly easily if you're candid about your reason for
You don't have an 'in' with the company
Using the name of a common contact to make the connection between you
and the hiring manager is by far the best way to ensure your cover
letter and CV get optimal attention. So, keep in touch with members of
your professional network; you never know who has a contact at the
company you hope to work for.
You don't follow up
One way to improve the odds that HR gives consideration to your CV is to
follow up with him or her. Job seekers should contact HR within two
weeks of sending a CV and cover letter. Often a brief phone call or
e-mail reasserting your interest in the position and strong
qualifications is enough.
You're not as qualified as you think
The bottom line may be that you're simply not as perfect for the job as
you think. Before submitting your CV, take a close look at the job
description and compare your skills and experience with those required
for the position. If a job calls for five years of overseas management
experience, and you have only two, you might not be as qualified as
other applicants. While sometimes it's possible to make up for skills
gaps if you excel in other areas, HR frequently have specific criteria
in mind, and they use it to determine whom they call for interviews.
By avoiding common pitfalls, you can improve your chances of landing a
job interview. Often something small, fixing a typo, for example, makes
all the difference.
If you are not getting interviews then something needs to change. Turn
your shoddy applications in to interview invites, by working with me in
a career consultation.