Almost every day, I talk to someone who tells me, “I’ve applied everywhere and no one has called me back”. When I hear this, it sometimes takes great effort not to roll my eyes. The facts are pretty straightforward on this one: If you have applied for fifteen, twenty, thirty jobs and haven’t received any responses, then there’s a 90 percent chance that you’re doing something wrong. What are those things? Here’s a list of the most likely reasons.
1. You’re Applying For The Wrong Kind Of Job.
Employers are looking for people who have experience in the job that they’re advertising. If you can’t prove that you have the experience or the training you need, then the person doing the hiring is going to throw away your application. It’s a simple rule of thumb: Do not apply for jobs that don’t in some way fit with your education or experience. Why should an employer consider someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing?
2. Your Application Has Red Flags.
When a job is posted, employers usually receive dozens of applications. The first thing they usually do is a preliminary scan through the stack. Anyone who stands out in a negative way gets put in the “reject” pile. Each employer has their own red flags, but some are universal. Things like short employment times, negative reasons for leaving your jobs (fired, quit or illness are the big “no-nos”) or a criminal record can keep an employer from even considering your qualifications. In the next week or so, I will give you some ways to avoid putting these red flags on your application – without lying or omitting information.
3. Your Application Shows A Lack Of Flexibility.
Increasingly, people are not working the typical eight to five, Monday through Friday work schedules. Businesses have realized that in order to get customers, they have to be open when the customers are able to come. That means extending hours to include non-traditional times like evenings and weekends. If you say on your application that you’ll only work weekdays or that you won’t work in the evenings, then many employers won’t give you a second thought. They may have those traditional shifts available, but they go to the tenured employees. In order to get your foot in the door, you need to be willing to work any of the hours that the business is open. You can be pickier about your schedule once you’ve worked there for a while.
4. You Didn’t Fill It Out Correctly
You have to think of the application as the first job your potential employer gives you. He’s watching to see if you take this simple task seriously. If you can’t handle something as basic as filling out an application, then how can you be trusted with more responsibility? I’ll do more entries in the future about how to correctly fill out an application, but for now just rely on these basic principles:
A. Follow the directions – pay attention to any instructions such as what kind of ink it says to use or how many years of work history to provide.
B. Be neat – an employer WILL NOT take the time to read messy handwriting.
C. Be thorough – don’t leave anything blank. If a question doesn’t apply to you then put N/A (for “not applicable”)
5. You didn’t follow up
You did everything right on your application. Your skills are exactly the same as the job description, you were careful to be neat and thorough, you avoided red flags. You still didn’t get a call. Well, did you follow up on your application? You have to realize that for most jobs that are advertised online or in the paper, there will be a lot of applicants. You’re probably competing with 50 or more other candidates. Something as simple as a follow-up email, letter or call can give you a huge edge on the competition. It places your application in front of the employer again and it just may get you the interview you’ve been hoping for.