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As a job seeker, you may be wondering why you were rejected from a job.
According to GlassDoor, “On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 résumés. Of these candidates, four to six will be called for an interview and only one will be offered a job.”
There could be many reasons for why you were not selected. It’s important to understand why your application was not accepted so that you can improve future applications. The following are some common reasons companies reject applicants:
You do not meet the minimum requirements.
The most common reason why a company might reject your application is that you don’t meet their minimum requirements.
If you don’t have the required job skills or experience, then it’s unlikely that they’ll hire you. For example, if an employer requires five years of experience in customer service and this is your first job ever, then it’s likely that they won’t hire you over someone who already has five years’ experience in customer service.
The same goes for education level: if an employer requires a degree from a university and all of your previous jobs were at fast food chains or grocery stores (which do not require degrees), then it’s likely that they won’t hire you over someone who already has a bachelor’s degree.
Other applicants have more experience.
If you’re new to the job market or have only a short amount of experience, it might feel like you’re at a disadvantage compared to other applicants. A company will want to see that you have the right skills for the job, even if they’re not the exact ones listed in their advertisement.
If this is your first time applying for a specific position, focus on showing that you have relevant skills and experience that would make you an asset to their team—you can do this by highlighting any relevant coursework or projects from previous roles. Keep in mind that companies are often looking for more than just hard skills (i.e., degrees). They also want employees who fit into their culture and work well with their other team members; these soft skills can often be demonstrated through teamwork on school projects or participation in extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs at college/university level.
Position was filled by an internal applicant.
The most common reason that companies reject your application is because the position was filled by an internal applicant. To put it another way: They already had a candidate in mind, and they went with that person instead of you.
Internal applicants have benefited from the inside scoop on what a company is looking for in its next hire. They’re often more familiar with the culture at their company, as well as how to go about getting along with coworkers and managers. This can make them more desirable candidates than external applicants who don’t know much about the company or its employees before applying for a job there. Internal applicants also tend to stay longer in their positions than those who weren’t hired internally, so companies are incentivized to hire internally whenever possible—even if they do technically have open positions available!
Position was filled by a referral applicant.
A referral is a great way to get your foot in the door, and it’s one of the most effective ways to get hired. If you know someone who works for a company that you want to work at, don’t be afraid to ask them for an inside scoop. It’s also helpful if you have a personal connection with someone at the company — whether it’s family or friends — as they may have insight into what makes an applicant stand out from other applicants. Jobvite stated, “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.”
Your resume is not polished and grammatically correct.
- It’s not a reflection of you as a person, but when it comes down to it, your resume is the first thing people will see. If you have any grammatical or spelling errors on your resume, that’s all they’ll remember about you.
- When writing resumes for different positions, make sure to customize them accordingly. For example: If you are applying for an entry-level position in sales and marketing at an advertising agency, rather than listing out every single job experience from high school through college (which may include jobs such as “sandwich maker” or “dog walker”), focus exclusively on work experiences relevant to the position at hand. This includes internships and extracurricular activities that were related somehow—for instance if there was a class project where everyone had to create their own advertisements with client feedback included in each ad copy. In this case one could highlight their passion for this area by mentioning how much fun they had working with clients and seeing how their ideas translated into effective ads that got results!
- Proofread everything before sending off applications! Make sure there aren’t any misspellings or grammatical errors anywhere on your resume–and we mean everywhere: On every line! Check email addresses too; sometimes people forget about these things even though they do matter because most employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) which don’t allow them access until after submitting resumes online. A study from CareerBuilder stated, 77% of the HR Managers polled showed that typos and bad grammar are deal breakers for the applicant.
Resume did not make it through the applicant tracking system (ATS).
The ATS is the first step in your application process, so if it doesn’t like your resume, you won’t get a chance with a human. Most ATS systems are programmed to flag resumes that contain keywords or phrases that are not relevant to the job (i.e., your resume says “I helped develop a website when I was 15” and the job opening asks for experience with WordPress). The result? The application will be downgraded in the relevancy compared to individuals that are a fit.
Another item, is if your resume has graphics, images, etc. on it this may not even make it into the ATS to be searchable. The system wants the resume to be simple to be read. Use a standard format and follow the directions on what the system can read. Most times this is a Word or text file.
Resume and cover letter are not customized for the job.
You might be wondering why it’s important to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for. It just seems like an extra step, and it is—but only if you don’t know what you’re doing. But if done correctly, tailoring your resume and cover letter can actually save time because all the information will be on one document instead of several documents that need to be updated from one job application to another.
If you don’t have a specific position in mind when applying for jobs, or if there are many positions open at once (as with internships), then make sure that your documents are versatile enough that they can easily be applied elsewhere in your field or industry.
You did not follow the directions on how to apply.
If you do not follow the directions on how to apply, your application is likely to be rejected. If you are not qualified for the job, do not apply. If you are looking for a different type of job than what is posted, do not apply. It’s important that you make sure that you meet all qualifications listed in the advertisement before applying. Also, make sure the deadline to apply has not past.
You are overqualified.
This is not a bad thing, but you need to know that there are many reasons why employers reject your application when they find out that you have more experience than the position requires. Keep in mind that every company is different, and some may be open to hiring an overqualified candidate for a specific reason.
A few things to consider:
- You may be too expensive for them or they think it would cost them too much if they had to train you on their systems and processes
- They don’t want someone with so much experience because they might leave the company in less than two years (it’s happened before)
- They think that having too many skills means you can easily find another job
Your experience shows that you are a job hopper without an explanation.
Your experience shows that you are a job hopper without an explanation.
Let’s say you’ve been with your current employer for just over two years. You’ve had some great experiences and learned a lot during the time you’ve been there, but there’s nothing wrong with moving on if it means moving up. Remember: if your company is doing well, it’s probably because of the team members who have worked there longer than you have. Be proud of what they’ve done!
If you have had contract or temporary positions, note this next to the job title so the reader can see that the tenure from the companies was not intentional.
It can be tricky to prove yourself when employers see gaps in your work history or job title changes, but don’t let this deter you from applying to positions where they would benefit from your skillset—it might just take some extra convincing!
Your experience shows that you do not have any recent relevant experience.
If you have been out of work for a while, it’s important to show that you are still keeping up with industry changes. Companies won’t be impressed by your resume if it shows that you don’t have any recent relevant experience.
If this happens and if you want to prove your worth, then there are two ways in which you can do so:
- Add transferable skills to the resume. Use bullet points so it is easy to read, and highlight only those that relate directly or indirectly with the position being applied for. For example “Accounting” could become “Analytical skills”.
- Update your LinkedIn profile with all new courses taken recently and update on any certifications or licenses gained during this period of unemployment or between jobs; include links as well if possible!
You show that you have a gap of experience without an explanation.
If you have a gap in your resume, be sure to explain it. A simple explanation like “I took time off to raise my children” or “I was caring for my parents” will go a long way towards getting the hiring manager over the initial surprise of seeing that big gap of time on your resume.
In addition, give an example of what you have been doing during this time off! Did you teach yourself computer programming? Did you create an online business selling hand-crafted jewelry? If so, include those details and links to any websites where we can find out more about them.
You are not local to where the position is.
Sometimes, you’re just not a good fit. For example, if you are applying for a position based in New York City and your job history is in Los Angeles, there’s probably not much of an opening for you.
If you can’t relocate or the company isn’t willing to relocate with you (or pay for your relocation), then don’t waste your time or theirs by applying. You may need to adjust your expectations about what kind of opportunities are available where you live.
Your salary expectations are too high for the entry range for the position.
The company is not going to pay you more than they have budgeted for the position.
You might think that because you are a great fit for the job, and that your experience is worth more than what they are offering, that they will be willing to negotiate. But it’s important to remember that companies set their salary ranges based on several factors: what other people in similar positions are earning at the company, local market conditions (what other companies in their area pay), what their competitors are paying for talent, and previous hiring decisions (if they paid too much or too little last time).
If a company has decided on an entry-level salary range based on these factors and budget constraints, they aren’t likely to be able or willing to go above it—even if you think your skills warrant higher pay.
Online behavior is inappropriate.
Time Doctor states in a study, “The importance of social media in the recruitment world is growing all the time. An Adweek report suggests that 92 percent of recruiters use social media to find the best candidates for each position.”
One of the biggest reasons companies reject your application is in your online behavior. This means you posted profanity or inappropriate photos on social media, used negative language in an email, or sent a message before applying for a job where you say something that makes it clear you are not interested. Companies want to hire someone who represents them well and will be able to keep up this image while working there. In addition, they may still be considering whether they want their brand associated with yours if something negative comes up later in your career.
Position has been reevaluated and placed on hold.
If you have received a notice that your application for a job is being placed on hold, it’s likely because the position has been reevaluated and is no longer available. If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do to maintain your active status in the system:
- Contact the employer directly and ask them why they’re not accepting any more applications. This can be a way of getting closer to landing an interview with them.
- Check out other jobs posted by the company on different websites (e.g., LinkedIn). You may find another opening that interests you more than the one that was just taken away from you!
Position requirements have been changed.
The company has changed the requirements for a position so that it no longer matches your experience and qualifications. The good news is, this is often an indication that your resume has been well-received by the company, and they are interested in continuing to learn more about you. In most cases, they will try again when they have another opening available!
If a company has made it clear that they are no longer interested in you, don’t be discouraged. Try to learn from the experience and apply those lessons to your future job search. When you apply for jobs in the future, make sure that your resume is up-to-date and tailored specifically for each position. If you haven’t heard back from a company within two weeks of applying or interviewing with them, send a follow-up email asking if there’s any new information on the position (or simply refer to it as “the one I applied for”). This shows that you are still interested in working there, which may encourage them to let you know when something opens up!
Although there are many reasons why companies reject your application, it does not mean that you should give up. It is important to keep trying and apply for other positions, if at all possible, but also make sure that your resume and cover letter are polished, grammatically correct and customized for the job. You may want to consider updating your experience, so they show relevant skills or education instead of gaps in employment history if there are any gaps shown on your resume. If you follow all these tips when applying for jobs in the future, then hopefully this will help get more interviews.
If you would like help in jump starting your job search plan, contact us today for a customized approach to your needs.