In a competitive market, it's not uncommon for new graduates and experienced professionals to experience prolonged job searches. However, when you've sent out hundreds of applications without securing a single job interview, it's time to reexamine your strategy. Assuming your qualifications are up to par and your materials are professional and error-free, these surprising mistakes might be sabotaging your chances at moving to the interview stage.
You Respond Slowly
Internet culture has bred a fast-paced, instant gratification mindset. It's not uncommon for modern professionals to respond to emails at all hours — and that extends to hiring managers. If you're waiting too long to get back to a recruiter or potential employer, you might be unwittingly sabotaging your chances at a job interview. Whether you're busy at work or hesitant to look desperate for a job, slow response times communicate a lack of interest and enthusiasm. The sooner you reply to an email, the better your chances at reaching the sender while your name is still top of mind.
You Accept Questionable Friend and Follower Requests
Most social media accounts come with privacy settings, but they're rarely enough to keep your content truly hidden. If you haven't gotten a job interview, look to your newest friends and followers. Can you verify that each one is a person you know personally? If not, one or more might be an employer hiding behind a fake profile. Don't rely on common connections — recruiters using this strategy often add several of your friends to create the illusion of familiarity. While you're searching for a job, increase privacy by ignoring all non-verifiable friend requests.
You Drop Family Status Clues
It's illegal for employers to ask about or discriminate based on your marital status or family plans. Regardless, some companies prefer not to hire employees who are married, pregnant, have children or plan to have children in the future. This hesitance is often due to worries about restricted work hours, a reluctance to travel and put in long hours, the expense of maternity leave, or missed work due to family obligations. If your job application materials or Internet presence gives clues to your family plans, it could cost you a job interview.
You're Not Using Personal Connections
When jobseeker supply drastically outstrips hiring demand, your chances of getting a job interview drop. If you don't use personal and professional networks to set yourself apart from the faceless masses of online applicants, it could be the reason you haven't moved forward. Your resume might get lost in the general application pool, but a personal recommendation or referral makes it difficult for a hiring manager to set your materials aside. Whenever possible, avoid going through a company's online submission form. Instead, search your network for any connection to the company, the recruiter or an employee. Ask that person to pass on your application materials with a short personal email to distinguish you from the competition.
When you're up against strong competition, the job search can be tough. Tightening up your materials and methods can instantly increase your chances of securing a job interview.
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