10 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Interviews

“I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, but I’m not getting any callbacks!”

You’d be surprised how many times I hear this when a client initially reaches out to me.

Today, I want to help you crack the code on why you’re hearing crickets after applying to jobs.

Similar to the way a doctor will diagnose what’s wrong with a patient, a career coach will help you analyze why you aren’t getting any bites.

It is typically different for everyone.

But, please do not jump to the conclusion that just because you haven’t gotten a call back….

  1. You’re not good enough.  (How would they know yet?)
  2. You weren’t meant to do this line of work.
  3. You should give up and stick to what you’ve always known.

No. no. no.

Let’s just adjust your STRATEGY to get you some traction.

Here are 10 culprits I see all too often when it comes to people not getting interviews.

If you feel one or two (or more) of these might be YOUR reasons… I challenge you to CHANGE the way you are doing things, so you can experience different results.

Reason #1:  Generic Resume Not Targeting One Role

If your resume is a generic “jack of all trades” that you ship off to all different types of job postings from marketing to operations to consultant…. then, Houston we have a problem.

My first question to you is… WHY are you applying to so many different types of roles?

Girl, you need to get career direction clarity FIRST before you start shooting out resumes.

In fact, I never hop straight into the “getting your foot in the door” strategy with a client BEFORE we are both sure they have career direction clarity.  (That’s another article all together!)

Once you have your clarity, NOW we can target your resume.

  1. Trim The Fat:  “Trim the fat” on parts of your resume that are irrelevant to the role you are targeting.
  2. Plump Up The Relevant Wins:  Next, you need to layer up on transferable skills or accomplishments that tie back to the role you are targeting.
  3. Make It Obvious:  Don’t force the recruiter or hiring manager to connect the dots for you on why previous job accomplishments are relevant to this one.  It’s YOUR job (or better yet your resume writer’s job) to weave the golden thread throughout so by the time a recruiter sees your resume they think, “Damn, she’s perfect for this role!”

PS:  You want to tweak your resume for each job you apply for.  Every job description will be slightly different even if you are targeting the same type of role.  

Reason #2:  You’re Missing Important Resume Sections.

  1. Headline: Do you have a compelling resume headline?  I’m not just talking about the title of the role you are targeting…. “Editor.”  I’m talking about your job title, years of experience, major achievement or much-needed skill.  “Award-Winning Editor Skilled in Web Design.”
  2. Summary: Is your resume summary on point?  This short paragraph is your elevator pitch!  Imagine a busy recruiter scanning a pile of resumes.  If you are going to catch her attention, this is the place to do it.  Highlight your professional skills, experience, accomplishments and expertise (as it relates to the role you are targeting.)    
  3. Keywords: Are you hitting enough keywords in your resume?  ATS (the resume robot) is scanning and searching for these.  Be sure you have a “Core Competencies” or “Areas of Expertise” section to list these keywords.
  4. Accomplishments: Underneath each previous job, are you just summarizing “what you were hired to do?”  (Hint: Most of your sentences begin with “Responsible for.”) This will get you passed over.  Go back and under each role, bullet point your accomplishments in CAR format (challenge you faced, action you took, quantifiable results you got.)

Reason #3:  Resume isn’t ATS-Friendly

The ATS is the “resume robot” who scans your resume online and decides whether to block you or pass you through.  

This topic could be an entirely separate article. Your expert resume writer will make sure you are ATS compliant.

A couple examples that could throw you off your ATS game include:

  • Important contact details in header (needs to be in the body of the resume.)
  • Certain embedded images, fonts, etc.
  • Spelling mistakes

There is no worse way to “go down” than by way of resume robot before a human ever lays eyes on your resume.

Reason #4:  Cover Letter Problems

Don’t skip this. 

This is the place to narrate your story.  Share with the reader what your “why” is. If you are transitioning to a new title or industry share why.  And also share whythis company?  

This is also yet another chance to reiterate to the reader why you are perfect for this role.  Make it obvious. Grab bullet points from the job description and pair them with examples of a time you did that thing they are talking about in a previous role.

End with a call to action.

Reason #5:  LinkedIn Profile Woes

I know that you know that your LinkedIn profile is the FIRST thing that people check when they are considering passing your resume on to the next stage.

There’s an art to the LinkedIn profile.  Don’t just regurgitate your resume.  

  • Summary: The LinkedIn summary (versus the resume summary) is a chance for you to let a bit more of that personality shine through.  Show who you are as a HUMAN…..your passions, your purpose.  
  • Unique Value Proposition: And of course let those quantifiable accomplishments shine! You have more space here than your resume summary so make use of it.  Draw out your unique value proposition. Why should YOU be selected as the new Director of Innovation versus the 150 other candidates?  
  • Profile Picture & Banner: Your LinkedIn profile picture matters. It’s your first impression. It needs to be in focus and professional, with you looking directly at the camera smiling.  Use your LinkedIn banner as an opportunity to drive home your brand. Perhaps it’s an image of you speaking in front of a large audience.  Perhaps it’s imagery that reflects your department or industry.
  • Multimedia: Unlike your resume… LinkedIn can include multimedia in the summary or job descriptions.  I’m talking about videos of you presenting, interviews you’ve done, projects you’ve worked on (minus proprietary information), articles you’ve been quoted in or have published, etc.

If you work with me, I’m going to pair you with my outstanding LinkedIn branding specialist who will spruce you up, piece together your narrative, and target your LinkedIn page in your new direction.

Reason #6:  Apply & Run Fail

You:  “Betty, I applied to 15 job postings last week!”

Me:  “Amazing!  What did the follow up look like?”

You:  ……

Sister, this is where the magic happens.

Get yourself some LinkedIn Premium action so you have Inmail credits.  Search on your target company’s LinkedIn page for potential hiring managers. Message everyone who might fit the bill with a love note like this…

Hi Marie! 

My name is Jane Smith and I’m currently the Senior Manager of Communications at SEPHORA.  I am interested in learning more about the position for Director of Communications at Google. Could you point me in the right direction with whom I could share my resume and learn more about this role? Here is my communications portfolio for your references: visualcv/janesmith.com

Thank you Marie! 

Jane Smith

And attach your resume to the message.

Your goal one way or another is to speak to a HUMAN. 

Reason #7:  Not Leveraging Your Network

Broken record alert:  70-80% of jobs are landed through networking.  So get hopping!

  1. Hop on your Alma mater LinkedIn page and search all alumni for people working at your targeted company.  Send them a short note like this… “Hi John.  My name is Jane Smith.  I’m a fellow graduate of UW-Madison (looks like we graduated around the same time!) {or insert some other personal detail here to make it sound less robotic}  I’m a Client Service Executive with 7 years experience. I noticed a position opened at your company for a Client Service Executive. I had a couple questions about the role – would you by chance, be able to connect me to the right person so I could learn more about the role?  Thank you so much John! 
  2. Now take a look at the Job Posting on LinkedIn. It will state which connections you have that work there.  Reach out with a similar message to the one above, asking if they can point you in the right direction to learn more about the role.  
  3. Now let’s talk about your PRIMARY network.  You know… your people. Your previous colleagues, lawyer, financial advisor, neighbor, cousin… you get the drift.  Do they know you are searching for a role? Do they know what companies or types of roles you are targeting?  Have you asked them if they know anyone at these companies you could chat with to learn more about what it’s like to work there?  Make it easy for them to help you. You never know if your lawyer’s wife works at XYZ company you are targeting.  

Reason #8:  Standing Out In The Crowd

Are you doing what is needed to stand out in a stack of resumes?  

Glassdoor is tell me that on average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. Of those candidates, 4 to 6 will get called for an interview.

  1. Request LinkedIn testimonials from colleagues, previous leaders, direct reports, clients, etc.  You may even consider including one on your resume.
  2. Build an online portfolio.  Sharing a link to your portfolio is a great way to stand out with the follow up message.  Check out visualcv.com
  3. Create a Value Validation Project (Google Austin Belcak for full details.)  Essentially you are identifying the company / department pain points and creating a mini project or deck outlining the framework of how you’d solve it.  It’s not about getting the answer “right.” This is about showing that you are a problem solver who goes the extra mile. Show them how your brain works.  Stand out from the crowd.

Reason #9:  Level Up Your Skillz 

Print out 6 job descriptions of roles you are targeting (same titles / different companies.)

Highlight the requirements they have in common.

Do you have those?

Spoiler: You don’t need to have ALL requirements.  So don’t let that stop you from applying.

HOWEVER, when it comes to getting those job skills, what are you waiting for?  For the magic job fairy to grant you an opportunity to obtain those skills/experiences for your portfolio? 

Don’t wait. Go out and get those things now.  

  1. Take a course or certification that will make you a better candidate.  If you are currently working a full time role, then moonlight.
  2. At your current job, request to be placed on projects that allow you to flex that muscle.  Now you can add that project to your resume and talk it up in your interviews.
  3. Freelance on the side.  Find small companies that could really use someone’s help and offer to work at a lower rate in order to gain the experience and perhaps receive a reference.

Bottom line, do WHATEVER it takes to get that experience.  It’s not up to others to grant you that experience. It’s up to YOU to go out and get it.

Reason #10:  Ditch the Lone Wolf Mentality

Get help getting your foot in the door!  We hire nail technicians to paint our nails. Hair stylists to die our hair.  Landscapers to pretty up our yards. Accountants to do our taxes. What in the world (besides family & health) could be more important than your career? 

INVEST in your career future and hire a career coach, my friend.

And buckle up. Because I’m bringing my army with me: an expert executive resume writer, a LinkedIn branding specialist, and yours truly – your dream career coach.

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