5 Application Mistakes Keeping You From Getting That Job Interview

After spending hours working on your resume, you attach a copy to your digital job application, send it in and wait. And wait. And wait.

By Jennifer Hunsaker2 min read
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Waiting for a hiring manager to call for an interview is kind of like watching the minutes tick away on a clock when you can't sleep at night. Anxious and frustrated, you wonder why your friend is scheduling interview after interview, while you're still waiting around for the phone to ring. If this sounds all too familiar, you're probably making one of these common job application mistakes.

1. Your application isn't getting past the applicant tracking software.

Depending on the industry, company, and location, a typical hiring manager will sift through dozens or even thousands of applications before selecting the right person for a job. Most applicant tracking software scans for certain keywords that are the most essential to the applicant's success.

Most applicant tracking software scans resumes for certain keywords related to the position.

If you're applying for a sales manager position, the software might scan for words like "sales," "manager." and "increase" as well as variations of those words. If your resume meets a specific keyword density, it's forwarded to the desk of the hiring manager. If not, it's suspended in resume purgatory.

2. Your resume doesn't make an impression fast enough.

Even if you're applying for a job in a small organization that doesn't use applicant tracking software, you may not be getting an interview because you're using a one-size-fits-all resume. That single page has to tell a hiring manager why you're a good fit for the job without making them look too hard for your qualifications. A study found that HR managers spend an average of six seconds looking at a resume. If your qualifications don't jump out in those six seconds, you're toast.

3. You didn't follow directions.

Some companies have simple application processes, while others have more involved, multi-step requirements. If you don't follow ALL of the instructions on the application, your application will never see the light of day, no matter how qualified you are.

If you didn't follow ALL of the instructions on the application, your application will never see the light of day.

4. You appear over-qualified/under-qualified/flaky.

Whether you have a gap in your employment history, no employment history, an extensive list of experience and accomplishments, or have hopped from job to job that didn't work out, your resume says a lot about you without you having to say a word. These common problems all have a solution that will allow you to put your best foot forward while remaining truthful about your qualifications. Have a trusted friend (or better yet, an HR manager) look through your resume and identify potential red flags.

5. Your online presence is...troubling.

Posting spring break pics on Instagram may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but your future employers use your online presence to get an idea of who you really are. They also often look to see if you have any mutual friends or acquaintances. With a few clicks, your social media presence and Google results can paint a very different picture than what you want to send.

Your future employers use your online presence to get an idea of who you really are.

Closing Thoughts

Even if you have addressed these common problems, don't lose hope. The right job for you is waiting around the corner. With a little work on your resume and a whole lot of persistence, you'll find yourself happily employed in no time.