LinkedIn Influencer, Bernard Marr, published this post originally on LinkedIn.
We take it to heart if we get a rejection for a job we wanted, or spend hours applying to jobs and never hear word. After all, it's hard not to take it personally and start to doubt our qualifications or skills.
But sometimes the reasons your job applications are being rejected are not about your qualifications or skills. Many other factors can come into play, especially when a hiring manager has a large pool of applications to sort through for a given position.
Consider some of the following as reasons your applications might be rejected so that you can take steps to avoid the possibility in the future:
- Not following directions exactly. Job applications are not the place to get creative! Often a recruiter will write application directions with the very purpose of seeing which applicants can follow them to the letter. Be sure to read the instructions very carefully and tailor your response --including your resume and cover letter -- specifically to the job for which you are applying. Even a small error could put you out of the running.
- Leaving fields blank on the application. Human resources and corporate attorneys spend a lot of time carefully crafting employment applications, so they have a reason for asking for each piece of information. The less information you provide, the less information the hiring manager has about you as compared to the other applicants. It could also be seen as a lack of attention to detail.
- Submitting an application to the wrong person. You might think you're being clever, circumventing the HR department and sending your application directly to the department you want to work for, but you might be shooting yourself in the foot instead. It could be seen as an inability to follow directions, and there's no guarantee the department head will forward your application to HR. Better to do your research and send the application where the company wants it to go.
- An unprofessional email address. It may sound trite, but when a recruiter has to type in "partygirl53 @ just don't forget to check it for replies. ," they are going to make assumptions about you and your character. It's easy to create a new, more professional email address for your job search --
- Ignoring large gaps in work history. You might have a gap in your work history for any number of legitimate reasons, but not addressing it can send up red flags for a recruiter. Instead of just hoping they won't notice, add a line explaining the gap as succinctly as possible like, "Left position in good standing to care for elderly parents for a year."
- Diversity considerations. Large companies often have diversity quotas that HR must take into consideration when making new hires. A minority, a woman, or a veteran with the same qualifications may be more desirable for a position for those reasons.
- Spelling and grammatical errors. In this day of computers and spell check, there's no excuse for spelling errors in a job application, and leaving them in shows a lack of attention to detail. Be especially sure to check job-specific words. If you're filling in an online form, you might consider composing your answers in a word processing document, checking them, and then cutting and pasting them into the form.
- Writing "See attached" on an application. In many cases, recruiters have many, many applications for the same job to read through, and use the application itself for their initial screening. They may not ever read your attached information. So try to be as concise as possible, and put all information on the application itself. If absolutely necessary, indicate that you will be happy to provide additional information at the recruiter's request.
The bottom line: be absolutely certain that you are following the instructions and paying attention to the details when submitting your job application to avoid common errors. After that, the rest is out of your hands.
I hope this is helpful? Do you have other words of advice for job applicants? If you've ever been in charge of hiring, I'd love to hear other surprising mistakes applicants make in the comments below.
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