Why can’t I get an interview?

If your resume is in good shape but you aren’t making much progress in the “getting a job so I can continue to eat” department, perhaps it’s time to step up your game. Getting interviews is a numbers game; the more resumes you put in the hands of hiring managers and human resources departments, the better. If you already have plenty of resumes out there, then it’s time to find out what you’re doing wrong.

Problems with your resume

  • Double the contact information on your resume and cover letter. If you put the wrong phone number or email address on there, you may be missing out on some job interviews. Correct this immediately unless you don’t really want a job. This is the awesome type of advice you come here for!
  • Make sure your resume is in tip top shape. If the calls aren’t pouring in after you’ve distributed several resumes, it might be that you’re not selling yourself effectively.
    • Read it again. If it has been a few weeks since you last revised your resume, you probably forgot what’s on it. Your mind will have cleared and you might pick up on some errors in grammar or, more importantly, things that just don’t make sense or seem appropriate. When you read through it put yourself in the shoes of a potential employer. What’s your impression of yourself based solely on your resume? Why wouldn’t you want to hire this person?
    • Small things can make a big difference. While a misspelled word or two probably isn’t the reason for your silent telephone, little things you unintentionally reveal about yourself can.
      • Their / There / They’re: If you’re not certain which means what, you need to have somebody proofread your resume who does. Some people are really bugged by this.
      • The same goes for other commonly misspelled and misused words. Your / You’re and It’s / Its are a couple other biggies. If your transposing these words and contractions it reflects poorly on you’re resume. If you’re a little hazy on these or any other words or grammar for that matter, you should definitely have somebody else look your resume over. Even if you don’t take it to a professional resume writer, having somebody with a strong handle on the written word help you edit it can do wonders for its readability.
  • Is there too much fluff in your resume?
    • If your resume is too long or too descriptive, busy managers may not want to tackle it. They’re generally busy and want things in easily digestible chunks — especially if they are reviewing hundreds or thousands of resumes for the position you want.
    • Remember, the purpose of a resume is to get an interview. If you leave out some of the specifics but give the employer enough to make them interested in hearing more, you may have more luck getting an interview than if you tell them everything up front.
  • Did you lie on your resume?
    • Just because your resume is well written, that doesn’t mean employers believe everything in it.
    • If you told some fibs in your resume, they may be costing you a job that you might have gotten if you were honest.
      • Remember that there are other fish in the sea — because that’s what employers are thinking when they read your resume. If you sound too good to be true, they may not want to take the time to find out. Don’t toot your horn too much unless you absolutely deserve it.
      • You don’t have to get every job you apply for — just one. You don’t have to impress everybody beyond their wildest dreams. You are looking for a job after all, not a life partner.
  • If you sell yourself too well, employers may not think they can afford you.
    • As you well know, you never want to be the first party to name a salary. Don’t boast about previous salaries or invent previous job titles that typically command salaries far higher than you can realistically get.
    • Because your resume is generally the only information they have before interviewing you on phone or in person, they may weed you out if you sound like you think too much of yourself.
    • This is also one reason why it’s generally unwise to lie about your previous salaries once you get past the initial interview stage. They may call your bluff.

Applying for the wrong jobs

  • Applying for a job as an accountant won’t do you much good if your degree is in nursing.
  • Even if you are open to a wide variety of jobs, it’s best to have a resume that shows focus.
  • You may consider writing two or three versions of your resume with each focusing on a different type of job (so long as you are qualified for each of them).
  • Be realistic. Everybody has to start from the bottom; if you’re a new graduate or are changing careers, you can’t expect to start out half way up the ladder. Don’t spend all your time applying for jobs that you don’t have a chance for.

Applying at the wrong companies

  • If you’re in your 40′s or 50′s and you apply for jobs at “young” companies, you may have some difficulty getting an interview. While age discrimination may not be legal in your area, you have to be realistic.
  • Likewise, if you’re a hermit and you apply for jobs that demand outgoing personalities (sales, for instance), you aren’t going to have much luck.
  • Apply to local companies or move to your desired destination. It is very difficult to get a job, let alone an interview, if you live a long ways away from the company. Not only is it difficult to organize a face to face interview, many employers balk at the costs of flying you to their location and/or potential relocation costs.

Other issues

  • If your resume is excellent, you’re qualified for the jobs and there aren’t any other problems mentioned above, you may need to look at some other factors.
    • Do you give off a bad vibe in your resume or on the phone? You need to woo employers with your manners and mannerisms. They’re looking for somebody to join their team, and they want to know they can get along with you.
    • Is there something bad in your history? Whether it be a large gap in employment on your resume or a police record, you need to consider these things as you try to get to the bottom of your difficulty getting an interview. Take a look at our article about how employers research you on the Internet.

    If you’ve covered all your bases and none of the above problems apply to you or your resume, send out some more resumes. The more jobs you apply to the, more interviews you’ll get!

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