Why am I not getting interviews?!
This is one of the most perplexing parts of job searching.
There could be any number of reasons that you’re not getting interviews, but I’m going to focus on the top 10 causes that I commonly come across.
And no, not even one of the reasons is what a certain “influencer” claims is the reason.
First, let’s talk about what isn’t the main reason for your inability to get interviews.
This “influencer” wants you to believe that it’s the ATS or the Applicant Tracking System. In fact, they said in one of their videos that the ATS is broken. They also said that you’re unlikely to have your resume seen by a human. This is a myth that has been disproven.
And they’re not the only one blaming the ATS. If you Google “why am I not getting interviews” ATS is bound to come up in the top search results.
We want to believe it’s the ATS, because it’s mysterious. It allows us to blame something external to us. It relieves us of accountability in our own job search.
But aside from being untrue, where does that leave us? It leaves us unempowered. It relinquishes control of our job search to something that doesn’t actually have any control of our job search.
Why do this?!
I’m sick and tired of job search influencers perpetuating the idea that the ATS is to blame. This does nothing for job seekers. Nothing.
If you want the truth on the ATS, you can check out my video on the topic.
I’ve also linked a ton of ATS-myth-busting resources below. I’m as serious about busting ATS myths as Kevin is serious about his Kevin’s Famous Chili.
In short, the ATS isn’t the reason you’re not getting interviews.
Enough of my ranting, let’s get into the things that actually matter and have an effect on whether or not you get an interview.
It Could Be a Resume Problem
So let’s talk about your resume being a problem. If you’re not getting interviews, it is very likely that there is a problem with your resume, like:
Your Resume Isn’t Targeted
I see a lot of job seekers trying to keep their resumes “general” so that they can “keep their options open.”
This will cause you to have an ineffective job search.
When we write in generalities, trying to appeal to every possible job, every possible reader, aside from being impossible, our resume won’t connect with anyone.
Solution: Get very clear on your target job before writing your resume.
You can learn more about the importance of this in my video Watch This Before Writing Your Resume.
Your Resume Doesn’t Show You’re Qualified
Going hand in hand with lacking target job clarity is that your resume doesn’t show you’re qualified.
Recruiters, Talent Acquisition Professionals, and hiring managers want to know: can you do the job?
You have to show them you can.
The most effective way to do this is through accomplishments because it gives the reader a clear idea of how you demonstrated the skills and qualifications that you’re claiming.
Watch my video on writing accomplishments.
It Might Be a LinkedIn Problem
The obstacles between you and an interview don’t begin and end at your resume. Let’s look at LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn Profile Is Confusing
Just like your resume needs to show you’re qualified, so does your LinkedIn.
You ARE being looked up on LinkedIn. It could even be happening before you apply to a job.
Your LinkedIn needs to align with your resume in that it shares the same dates and facts about your work experience.
Also, you want to make sure the stories you tell on LinkedIn don’t confuse readers.
For example, before I launched by business, I was trying to make LinkedIn pull double duty – show me as the analyst that I was at the time, and also as an entrepreneur. This didn’t work.
Pick a lane and stick to it. Use LinkedIn to brand you towards your target direction.
You’re Not Active On LinkedIn
No one needs another social media time suck. But because of how important LinkedIn is in hiring, you do need to show up there, regularly.
Your activity is viewable on your profile. So if your last activity happened 3 months ago, this will call into question how reachable you are on LinkedIn.
Don’t let that question creep into a hiring professional’s mind.
Keep active and visible on LinkedIn. To save time, make sure you’re engaged in high-value interactions, which is commenting on others’ content, or posting your own, or both!
You’re Misbehaving On LinkedIn (Or Social Media In General)
Since your activity is viewable, we need to keep it professional.
If you’re posting offensive content, treating others horribly, complaining about recruiters, the list goes on – you won’t be perceived as someone who is a fit for most roles.
No one wants to hire a loose canon no matter how qualified they are.
It’s Possibly a Job Search Strategy Problem
Having a standout resume and LinkedIn profile is a great start, but how you job search is just as important.
You’re Not Applying Online or Only Networking
Say what??? You probably thought I was going to say the opposite. Well, I’ll get to that.
But NOT applying online is a problem.
You may have heard or read headlines like “How to get a job without even applying online.” This should instead be “How to get a job by applying online AND networking.”
Let’s be real here.
If a job is posted online, and you want the job, you need to apply online.
No amount of networking is going to help you circumvent the process. In fact, if you don’t follow the process, you may be perceived as someone who doesn’t follow process in work too.
Recruiters and hiring managers need you to apply because this is part of their process, and they need to start a file on you. Also, there’s a lot of legal and regulations that go into this which is above my pay grade but when I have some good resources, I’ll link them below.
So apply for that job online. There’s no reason not to, unless…
You’re Not Qualified And Applying Anyway
You’re applying for jobs for which you aren’t qualified.
Do you find yourself saying “I don’t have the experience but if they just gave me a chance…”
Here’s some tough love for you: this hope is holding you back.
Know your strengths, know your skills, and know how they align with your target job.
Stop sending your resume anywhere and everywhere and start applying for target jobs at your target employers.
You’re Only Applying Online or Not Networking
Here you go. I told you I’d get to it.
Only applying online isn’t helpful either.
Networking is critical to your job search.
Meeting recruiters, hiring managers, folks on the inside of your target companies, decision makers, this is very important.
But you still need to apply online if the job is posted online.
You’re Networking Poorly
Blasting generic messages to recruiters asking them for jobs, or asking to “pick the brain” of experts in your field, will get you nowhere. In fact, they come across as very annoying and intrusive.
We need to make sure when we’re networking, we’re not treating it as transactional, and rather, as long-term relationship building. There is a human on the other side of that message!
So make it worth their while to read and action.
For recruiters, if you applied to one of their open roles, tell them you did an provide a few highlights for why you’re a great fit, and a call to action to invite a discussion.
If you’re asking for an information interview with an expert, make sure you’re customizing your message and making sure they understand WHY you’re reaching out to THEM. What do you admire about them? What have they done in their body of work that you think is awesome. Stroke their ego.
You’re Not Following Up
People are very busy.
And people who do hiring are facing very difficult times with the pandemic. It’s confusing, there are many roadblocks. They’re overwhelmed in many cases.
Stay top of mind by following up at reasonable intervals.
I’m not talking every day, but if you apply or interview for a job, you should be following up and reminding your contact why you’re a great fit, and demonstrating how you have a good understanding of how you can meet their needs.
Admittedly, I used to think things like font choice had way more effect on getting an interview than they actually did. But I became more experienced in my field and I studied from the people who lived and breathed hiring. They’re who I turn to for the truth.
What do you think is getting in your way of getting interviews? Tell me in the comments below.