Top 2 reasons you didn’t get an interview

Top 2 reasons you didn't get an interview

If you are scratching your head wondering why you didn’t achieve an interview for a position which was a perfect match for you, i.e. you had the experience and skill-set to do the job ‘standing on your head’, these are the two main reasons why you generally don't achieve interviews.

1. Your resume 'look and feel' did not create a favourable impression

Your resume doesn’t present as a formal, professional document – you’ve chosen the wrong template, wrong font choices, too much or too little ‘white space’ to segregate information, too wide or too narrow margins, and it may even have spellos/typos and/or grammatical errors – in short, it looks a mess!

Your resume doesn’t present as a formal, professional document – you’ve chosen the wrong template, wrong font choices, too much or too little ‘white space’ to segregate information, too wide or too narrow margins, and it may even have spellos/typos and/or grammatical errors – in short, it looks a mess!

Your professionalism and your ability to high-perform in the advertised position, will, in the first instance, be determined by the quality of the documents you submit for applications. This relates to any role in any industry sector, whether it is a casual retail job or a Financial Controller for an international enterprise – at the end of the day, you represent the organisation – and your resume represents you.

2. Your content didn't sell your 'value proposition'

The other primary reason for not achieving interviews is that your resume content simply didn’t promote your ‘value proposition to a hiring organisation, i.e. it didn’t give them a reason to call you in for an interview.

You may have the skill-set and experience they require, but it’s not immediately apparent and you are up against a lot of applicants with the same skill-set and experience vying for the same advertised job.

What’s important to remember is that the first-page of a resume is the ‘key’ to achieving interviews and most job-seekers get this wrong.  Hiring organisations are not going to read every word, every page of the (often) hundreds of applications they receive for any advertised position – they will usually decide within six (6) seconds whether the rest of the resume is worth reading.  So if you don’t get the first page of your resume right, forget about it – your applications will be rejected.

Other reasons you didn't get an interview

COULDN’T PASS THROUGH AN ATS SYSTEM – resumes are often rejected because they can’t pass through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), HRIS system and other resume screening software which most organisations now use to initially filter through submitted applications (resumes, cover letters, selection criteria statements).  In the first instance, this could simply be because of the structure and content of the document, i.e. section headings the system cannot recognise such as ‘About Me’ rather than OVERVIEW, ‘Employment’ instead of EXPERIENCE, ‘Qualifications’ instead of EDUCATION, ‘References’ instead of REFEREES; and/or your information is primarily placed in TABLES and ATS can often have difficulty in ‘reading’ data which is placed in tables.

MISSING KEYWORDS – ATS algorithms set up in the resume screening software are aligned to the Position Description, or, if there is no formal Position Description, then the keywords/key phrases contained in the ‘Our Ideal Candidate’, or ‘About You’ information in the position advertisement.  If you haven’t incorporated these into all your submitted documents (resume, cover letter, selection criteria), it will probably be rejected before it ever passes through to human intervention, i.e. ‘read by a human – not a robot’.

MISSING REFEREES – there’s differing opinions on whether to include referees in your resume – some are for it, some against it.  Unfortunately, the reality is that if you haven’t included referees your application could be discarded.  Hiring organisations (and particularly government entities) must validate your information and they are simply not going to contact every applicant to do so.  It’s not always possible to include referees from your current employer due to wanting to maintain your confidentiality, however, consider perhaps a former manager or team leader who has since left the organisation and contact them to confirm their availability to be a referee on your behalf.  Remember that a former colleague is inappropriate – the referees must be someone who has managed or supervised you. 

INTERNAL PREFERENCE – unfortunately, most times a position is advertised there will be internal applicants vying for the position and the reality is that if they have the skill-set required for the position, they will often be selected to fill the role.  Their advantage of course, is that they already know the organisational systems, processes and culture and therefore, there is limited training involved in the handover process – training costs organisations time and money and impacts on operational efficiencies and productivity.

SOCIAL MEDIA – be mindful of your online presence and particularly social media – hiring organisations will generally check-out your online presence and let’s face it, inappropriate images and comments won’t create a favourable impression, and indeed, cost you job interview opportunities despite your skill-set and experience.

To summarise ....

There’s a lot you can do to get your resume and application noticed by hiring organisations and achieve interviews – in the first instance, you should consider investing in yourself and in your future by having a professional resume writing service tailor your resume to the positions and industry sectors you are targeting. Most people are of the mistaken impression that they can write their own resume and sell their value proposition to hiring organisations and don’t want to make the financial investment. It’s important to remember that your resume will determine your financial income, your career advancement, and indeed, your way of life. If you don’t invest in yourself, it’s highly unlikely that a hiring organisation is going to invest in you.


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