5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Hired

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The job market is still competitive, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 6.7 percent unemployment rate for February, which is actually a decrease from most months in the previous few years. Despite a decline in the unemployment rate in February, that number still represents 10.5 million unemployed Americans.

There are several legitimate reasons that people are jobless — from making a conscious decision to stop trying, to just not being able to secure a job in a preferred field despite the right qualifications. However, there are many other reasons that people remain unemployed that could easily be fixed. If you’re resume isn’t up to par, if you’re not taking your interviews seriously, or your references are not the best, you may be holding yourself back from obtaining a great job. Read on to see if you’re making any of the five mistakes that could stop you from getting a job.

1. Your resume is lacking

Your resume is the first thing that most employers see, and if it isn’t right, you won’t get an interview. One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make is taking the lazy approach: if you want to get a job, you need to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for, which means having several different versions of your resume. If possible, create a resume that shows your ability to fill a specific job opening, and further, one for the company you are hoping to join. While you want your resume to stand out, you should make it as clear as possible and avoid fonts that are difficult to read; you also should put important info near the top of your resume and try to keep it as close to one page as possible. Finally, have someone proofread your resume for errors.

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2. Your social media presence isn’t positive

Social media has become an important marketing tool for companies today, and many interviewers have taken social media a step farther, using it to weed out bad candidates. As such, 37 percent of employers now use social media to screen candidates, while 89 percent of job seekers use social media. This means that there is most likely a wealth of information available to potential employers that you don’t necessarily want shared. Your social media profile doesn’t have to be a negative, and if you showcase your work ethic and skills, you just might land a job.

However, 34 percent of those employers who screened social media found information that caused them not to hire a specific candidate, and the reason for that decision was based primarily on inappropriate photos or evidence of drinking and drug use. If you must share everything with your friends, make your profile private, or at least make the parts that could damage your job search private.

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3. Your interview skills need work

If you actually make it to the interview stage regularly, but you never get a job offer, your interview skills may need some work. One of the biggest and most surprising issues that interviewees consistently display is a lack of respect in the way they dress for an interview. It doesn’t matter if you are interviewing for a local fast food joint or a management job at a huge corporation, you need to look presentable. While most employers won’t fault you for overdressing, many will blame you if you come in too relaxed.

Another mistake that many people make at an interview is not researching the specific job or company; employers want to know that you care about the interview. You should show confidence but not arrogance, and prove to the person interviewing why your skills are a good match for the position. If you seem disinterested or unprepared, you will not get the job. Lastly, be careful about what you say in an interview. Never insult a previous employer or coworker.

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4. Your references are weak

Even if you make it through the pre-screening process and ace the interview, a bad reference can be a deal breaker. First, avoid family or friends unless they have worked with you on a significant project, and even then, it’s better to avoid using them unless you have no one else to use. Try to keep your references current; only list people you have worked with recently and who know your work ethic. It seems obvious, but avoid listing former employers or coworkers who might have something negative to say about you; you can use someone from human resources if you just need job verification.

Lastly, if possible, warn your references that someone might call them if you get to that stage in the job process. Informing your references about your potential job and the company you are hoping to work for prepares them to give out the best possible information when they get that call.

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5. You’re not the right fit

It’s understandable that when you remain unemployed for a long time, you get desperate. However, applying to jobs that you are completely overqualified for makes employers wary. They don’t believe that you will stay at the company once you find something better. If you are extremely unqualified, you are also probably wasting your time because employers will receive many resumes from people who are qualified. You can take a chance by applying to these jobs, but you are probably wasting your time. You also won’t often get ahead if you have the wrong skill set: you need to apply for jobs that you have the right training and education for. If you really want to get a job that is out of your skill set, consider taking certification classes or volunteering in order to make your resume seem more impressive.

There are many reasons that you might not get hired, and they may be completely out of your control — like a company that posts a job but fills it internally. However, there are a lot of things that are completely in your control, so try to avoid the mistakes listed above. You also should avoid lying to impress employers, since that will inevitably come back to haunt you eventually, even if you do get a job offer. Also, avoid sharing too much at an interview; you’re there to share your job skills, not your personal life.

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