Faruse blog


In our years as a recruiter, we've seen countless candidates who appear to be qualified for the job that they're applying for but are not getting calls from the hiring manager. If you are one of these people or if you feel frustrated because you're just not getting hired, this article will help explain what's happening and how you can change your approach.


#1: You're not clearly or explicitly communicating your value proposition


Nobody beats around the bush on Craigslist. If you see an ad for a product that you know fits what you're looking for, it's simply a matter of determining the seller's needs and deciding if you can fulfil those needs better than another potential buyer.


This seller/buyer relationship becomes more complex when you're trying to sell yourself. Because there are a few rounds of back-and-forth in the hiring process, it can be difficult for employers to understand right away what value you'll add to their organisation. This comes across as vague or wishy-washy when you don't communicate your value proposition from the get-go. (I talk more about how to do this here.)


#2: You're unwilling to go above and beyond because you think they'll take notice anyway


Going above and beyond is becoming less common these days - especially when the economy isn't doing so hot. People are afraid that they won't be able to keep up with their peers. This leads to the following reason why you do not hear back from any jobs...


When we were doing better economically, more people would go above and beyond because they felt like they needed to remain competitive. Today, it's easier for employers to identify candidates who want the job just as much as anyone else – those who are willing to hustle a little extra or take on special projects often have the edge over other applicants.

Those who don't make that extra effort end up getting passed over by someone else who worked a little more complicated than others. It may seem unfair, but at the end of the day, it's how business works. You might be saying, "Do I need to go out of my way? Won't they take notice of my skills anyway?" The answer is no.

Does it matter if you have experience in a particular software program or know how to handle certain situations? To an employer, the knowledge/skills themselves are worth nothing until they see that someone can successfully apply those same skills in their business environment.


#3: You're undervaluing yourself and your work


If I were to tell you, two people who had the same qualifications, would it even matter which one got hired for the job? No – but having said that, there still needs to be some hierarchy when employers review potential candidates. Here's what we mean...


You may be competing against 5 other programmers at your skill level. Still, if one of those people has worked in the industry longer or at a more prestigious company, it can create an unfair advantage for that person. The same goes for experience in programming languages and software. If you're not willing to come right out and say, "I'm better than him because I've done XYZ," then the employer will make that judgment call without your opinion being considered.


#4: You aren't sending follow-up emails when they don't respond after several days


If someone is interested in talking with you about a job, they'll reach out pretty quickly - employers want to hire as soon as possible, so time is on their side (not yours). If you wait too long to follow up with them, they'll likely move on to the next candidate.


If they initially contact you and say that someone else will be getting back to you, don't immediately write them off. This happens more often than you'd think. We've experienced this first-hand when a potential employer told us that someone would be reaching out...that didn't happen for about three days, so we reached out again ourselves and got a reply right away because it had slipped their mind!


#5: You're not proactive enough in seeking out new opportunities


If your only source of income comes from what's listed on Craigslist, the chances are high that at least one of those jobs are going to offer what you're looking for in terms of pay and work schedule. Don't put all your eggs in one basket; if you're looking for more than just a 9-5 job, put yourself out there and apply to as many jobs as possible.

Some of them may turn you down, but it's all about increasing your odds. For every job you apply to, at least 50 people are looking for work. If only 1% of those people get hired that month, what happens to the other 49?

That makes being proactive in finding new opportunities even more vital because it gives you a leg up when employers see how much you're willing to hustle and go out on a limb.


#6: You're not following instructions


Employers want to see that you can follow their instructions. When applying for a job, it's best to deviate from the instruction set they provide (i.e., specific instructions on where and how to use). As we've said before, this is another area in which employers get tons of applications, so it becomes a numbers game – the more qualified candidates they have to choose from, the better. Here are some other tips:


· Proofread everything! That includes spelling, punctuation and capitalisation. After you email your resume/cover letter, ask a friend or family member to proofread for you as well. Flaky grammar isn't going to give employers a good first impression.


· Be consistent in the way you say your name and spell it – if someone is searching for "Mark Williams" on Google. They see that he's been listed as "Mark Willians," "M Ark W Williams," or even "Marc William" elsewhere; they're going to think you don't have a clue about how to present yourself professionally.


#7: You haven't provided enough information to get employers interested in talking with you


You need to pull employers in by giving them details about who you are and what makes you stand out from all the other applicants. If your resume/cover letter looks like every other one they've read, the chances are high that they'll toss yours in the trash immediately. Make sure to include details about yourself such as your:


· Goals for the future – what do you hope to gain from this job? How will it affect your career? When will you have enough experience and knowledge to move on to something bigger? How long do you expect to stay with this organisation, etc.?


· Accomplishments – tell employers the work-related things that you've done that are noteworthy (i.e., finish a custom widget application in three weeks instead of two months). Don't leave anything out because these are usually your most significant selling points when applying for a software development gig.


#8: You haven't told employers what makes you stand out from everyone else


This is extremely important because you're competing against other people with the same skill set. If you don't tell employers what makes you stand out, they'll likely assume that everyone else has the same experience and qualifications as you have. As we said before, it's a numbers game to them, so if they think ten people can do exactly what you do, the chances are high that only one of them will be selected for an interview.


#9: You've sent generic applications and not tailored your cover letter and resume


Employers want to see how well someone fits their organisation. If they get a generic resume/cover letter without even knowing if it's from a man or woman (gender-neutral wording), chances are high they're not going to be excited about calling you in for an interview.

Suppose the generic resume/cover letter represents a woman. In that case, they'll wonder if you understand your qualifications, and that may make them think that you're weak when it comes to communicating your knowledge of what you can do for their company.


Here are some tips:


· Tailor everything to each employer – this means changing the tone of your cover letter and resume based on who will be reading it. Avoid speaking directly to employers at all costs, as we noted above; instead, talk now to the position in general by emphasising how well you'd fit into that particular job role (i.e., tell them exactly why YOU want this job).


· Make sure you personalise your resume/cover letter – employers want to know who they're hiring, and they don't just want to see a dry document that doesn't say a word about you. They want to be able to get an idea of what kind of person you are just from looking at your resume/cover letter, so make sure all the details you share with them are true – using stock photos is a big no-no because it suggests that you've faked most if not all of the information on your application.


#10: You haven't included links and social media profiles


This one seems silly, but it's something we've seen many times before. Many candidates try to hide their online presence by not mentioning any links or having no social media profiles.

Employers want to know who they would be hiring (if you're applying for a job), and, more importantly, they want to get an idea of who you are as a person. A considerable part of this is getting to know your online presence or lack thereof – employers may not be looking for a candidate that has nothing about them anywhere on the web, but they do like someone who isn't trying to hide their past.


#11: Your resume/cover letter haven't been set up properly


This one can ruin your chances of getting any kind of interview. Even if everything else seems perfect, don't send out resumes or cover letters with spelling and grammar mistakes because it will make you look careless. These are the first things employers will see when they review your application, and if you don't pay close attention to detail, it will likely lead them to think that you're careless in all aspects of life – including work. That's why we recommend using Grammarly for proofreading anything you do.


#12: We've seen a lot of mistakes on resumes/cover letters such as:

· Typos

· Wording that doesn't emphasise essential skills (i.e., "will be able to" instead of "can")

· Not addressing the cover letter or resume directly to the employer or hiring manager. Instead, address it "Dear Hiring Manager" because this is something we often see with generic cover letters sent to all employers within a particular company.

If you're applying for a job, the chances are high that the employer has been contacted by many different people who want to get hired, so take it upon yourself to stand out as best as you can – don't do anything that suggests you're not paying attention because this is one of the first things they will notice about your application. It may make them think you won't pay attention to the job, which means they likely won't call or email you with any information related to being selected for an interview.


Final Thoughts


These are just a few of the many mistakes we've seen in applications for jobs. Many candidates make other less obvious errors that can still ruin their chances, but, again, these are some common ones you should avoid if you want to get noticed by employers and potentially be called/email about an interview.


We hope you find this helpful! If so, please feel free to share! Preparing a resume or cover letter is difficult enough, let alone having to worry about making sure it's perfect on top of everything else. However, we often see that can hurt your chances of getting any response from employers is careless in presenting yourself online (meaning when applying for jobs).

This includes things such as having negative comments on social media, using stock photos of yourself and incorrect formatting in your resume or cover letter. The good news is that you can avoid all of these mistakes by paying attention to how you present yourself online before starting the application process.

You have no idea how many times we've seen someone ruin their chances by not taking a few extra minutes to make sure everything is accurate (and real), and it's often the difference between hearing back from an employer for an interview versus getting ignored.

We recommend spending some time reviewing your online presence before beginning job searching. If you don't take care of this ahead of time, you risk losing some great opportunities while wasting valuable time and effort.


Good luck

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