After all the hard work you put into your resume and all the time you invested in drafting and polishing your cover letter, it seems surprising—and more than a little disappointing—that you weren’t even called in for an interview. What went wrong?
It might have been pure odds—after all, hundreds of people probably applied to the same position as you. But aside from bad luck of the draw, here’s what else could have happened:
1. The manager found a deal-breaker you can’t control.
If your alma mater and your reviewer’s alma mater were bitter football rivals and he can’t see past this difference, that’s just too bad. The same applies if your resume reveals an opinion he doesn’t share, shows pride in an accomplishment he doesn’t appreciate, or expresses a personality trait that he doesn’t find agreeable.
Other possibilities include the following: You live in a distant state and he only wants local candidates, you once worked as an assistant for three years instead of three months before being promoted to associate, or you have traits and qualities that make him feel threatened and overshadowed (yes, this does happen).
There’s not one thing you can do about any of these possibilities. Just keep forging ahead with the next opportunity.
2. The manager found a deal-breaker you can control, but you don’t plan to change anything.
If you’re a bit overqualified for the position and you’re asking for a salary that’s a little too high, you can dial down your expectations on the next application. Or not.
Only you can determine what your labor and credentials are worth. And only you can determine what you’re willing to sacrifice or adjust in order take on this job. Can you move across state lines? Travel more than 30 percent of the time? Maintain odd hours? If you’re willing to do these things, you can make this clear in future applications. If not, don’t. A match is match—in dating as in the job search, it’s a good idea to be true to yourself and stay the course. If you can afford to be patient, the right prospect will come your way soon enough.
3. The manager found a problem that you can certainly change, and from this point forward, you have every intention of doing so.
Of course you’ve already edited your resume backward and forward a hundred times. But push your frustration aside for a moment and take one more close look. Chances are, there’s one section or phrase that could afford a little tightening. And if you think carefully, there may be one small accomplishment, award, publication, or challenging project you’ve tackled in the past that slipped your mind and escaped mention until this moment.
If your resume isn’t working for you, don’t just accept it as is and keep submitting the same document relentlessly without a single change. Go back. Look harder. Keep tweaking your sentences and tightening your format.
LiveCareer can provide the resume and cover letter builders you need to stay in motion, keep working, and keep editing until your application takes you where you need to go.