You know the feeling. After hours searching for potential job leads, you find a role that looks perfect. Everything you'd been looking for in your next career move. You can hardly wait to fire off your application and progress through the interview stages...
Except that disappointment is often what greets job seekers next. Rejection is never easy to take. But understanding why you've been rejected - and what you might be able to do better next time around - is a key step in moving on. So for that reason I'm most grateful to Heather R. Huhman for sharing this guest post, aimed squarely at helping you to understand - and overcome - setbacks in your job search.
You’re feeling lucky. You found an opening for a job you would love to have, your resume made it through screening, and you had a decent interview — but somehow you still received a rejection email. What went wrong?
With the national unemployment rate resting at an uneasy 7.9 percent, it’s safe to say the job climate is highly competitive. In fact, 29 percent of candidates never even hear back from a hiring manager after applying for a position. While you may have made it far in the hiring process, there are many reasons you weren’t considered to be a perfect match.
Here are seven common reasons you didn’t land the job:
1. Your qualifications didn’t quite match up. While you may have felt you had the necessary skills and experiences to match you to the position, your potential employer didn’t feel the same way. This error is usually due to job seekers misunderstanding what an employer is looking for, or the simple misjudgment of their own qualifications. Just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t always mean you were under-qualified – there’s also the possibility you were overqualified or just altogether an inappropriate fit with regard to the company.
In the future, consider spending a significant amount of time matching your qualifications and skills with those required for the position. If there isn’t a close fit, it might be best to refrain from applying.
2. You don’t look good on paper. You may have the exact qualifications for a position, but if you can’t present them to your potential employer, it’s unlikely you’ll be hired. Aside from grammatical errors on your cover letter and resume, it’s also important to look at formatting, relevancy, and whether you’ve gone above and beyond to stand out. If your resume and cover letter are generic and vague, don’t expect to be hired. Put the time and energy into creating a customized cover letter and resume for every position you apply for, and make sure you spend time showcasing why you’d make a better fit above other candidates.
3. Your interviewing skills held you back. Just because you answered every question you were asked doesn’t necessarily mean you wooed the hiring manager. Think back to your interview… Were you enthusiastic, positive, and did you showcase a personable depth to your professional personality? Too many job seekers get hung up on knocking out the technical questions and miss the chance to build a connection with their interviewer. Always remember to come to an interview well-researched, practiced, and eager to showcase why you’d be an outstanding addition to the team.
4. Your overall presentation needs some work. If you arrived late to an interview dressed in wrinkled clothing, you aren’t exactly presenting yourself as a stand-out candidate. From your resume to your face-to-face interview, presentation matters in every part of the hiring process. Attitude and body language fall into the category of presentation. Many job seekers let their search for employment get to them — they come off as negative, unenthusiastic, or uncomfortably confident. Focus on presenting yourself in a way that encompasses your unique personality traits, as well as highlights your overall togetherness.
5. You didn’t fit the culture. Fitting into a company’s culture is a must. You may have more than enough talent to get the job done, but without the proper chemistry, it’s unlikely you’re a match. Companies seeks out individuals who share the same values as they do. During your job search, it’s crucial to understand the culture of each company you are applying at. This will help you figure out whether you’d fit in, and it will also help you tailor your resume and properly prepare for an interview.
6. You didn’t showcase your competitive advantage. Did you go out of your way to present yourself as the best candidate for the position? It’s easy to get caught up in fitting the mold and completely miss out on an opportunity to inform the hiring manager of why you’re the best option. This should start in your cover letter and carry into your interview. While you may be able to get the job done, how can you do it better than anyone else?
7. There wasn’t actually a job in the first place. Just because a company has an opening posted doesn’t mean it’s actually available. Many companies hire from within but are still mandated to post the opening. Other times, a potential employer may face a last-minute budget cut, with the position being completely eliminated.
Receiving a rejection is never a fun experience, but it’s important to learn from every aspect of your job search. While there are many reasons you could have slipped up, it’s also important to remember there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to hiring a new employee.
How do you cope with being turned down from a job?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
Image source: Tilemahos Efthimiadis
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