Almost every job in the professional world is different. Much like how every job seeker is different. Though, sometimes being different is a good thing and sometimes it isn’t. If you are struggling to find work, here are four reasons that you may not be getting hired.
- Lack of personality
People hire people that they like. It’s as simple as that. Even the most talented individuals will often get rejected simply because they don’t have the right personality, which ultimately comes down to fitting with the culture.
It’s easy to say things like “I’m too shy” or “we communicate on a different level”. Well, sometimes you just have to play the cards you were dealt. Other times, such as when you’re looking for work, you just need to learn to adapt and move on. Communication is a skill that can be refined, and those who do so often go very far in life. Do your homework on what types of companies you’re going for and think hard whether or not you would actually be a good culture fit, or if you need to change things up a bit.
Now, you can’t fake personality for long, but there are plenty of ways you can improve the way people perceive you. This is a topic that thousands of books have been written on so it’s not worth trying to explain. Though, when you’re looking for work just remember to imagine being in the position of the employer and ask yourself “if I were in their shoes, would I honestly hire me?”
- Your name
At Career of the Day, we work almost exclusively with people from overseas and having a name that isn’t considered “common” in Australia is a struggle that they face regularly when they are looking for work.
While you can’t really do much about this one, it’s certainly worth noting. If you have an uncommon name, or one that is hard to pronounce, many hiring managers will disregard you from the start. They will never admit to it, because this is obviously a form of discrimination. Yes it’s wrong, but it’s the unfortunate truth.
Of course, your name has nothing to do with your abilities to do the job or fit in with the culture, it simply makes some employers or recruiters think twice about looking into you. Having a foreign name often signals that you’re from overseas and many employers will get exhausted just by the thought of language barriers and cultural differences that they may or may not face if they were to hire you.
This is the reason why some people are talking about trying to make it a standard job application practice to not include a name on your resume. I don’t know if it will happen anytime soon, but I imagine it won’t help a great deal as hiring managers will likely assume that if your application has no name on it then you’re hiding it for obvious reasons.
Changing your name for the sake of a new job is not a feasible option, but it may be worth considering using a middle name, nickname, or “Westernised” version of your name when applying. Don’t take it as an insult or just a way to hide your identity. It may only be for the sole purpose of getting the chance to get in front of someone and actually show them what you’re made of.
- Being the same as everyone else
Let me guess, your resume says that you’re hardworking, detail oriented, proactive, self-motivated, a team player and have excellent problem solving skills? Well if that’s the case, you’re like literally every other person who has a resume.
While it is true that employers search for certain resume keywords, these generic “resume words” are not going to get you anywhere. Words and phrases like these blend in with every other application so make yourself stand out by doing something different.
Actions speak louder than words. Enhance your resume with examples and stories of the things you have done. If they are any good, they will imply the other traits I mentioned before without having to write them down.
For example, “creating a new product line or increasing profit margins by 20%” will imply that you’re hard working and proactive.
The opposite is also true. If you make spelling errors on your resume, but you say that you’re “detail oriented,” then you’ve just proved to the employer that the words or your resume don’t mean anything. Then into the trash it goes.
- Impersonal applications
Sending out impersonal applications is just as bad as sending out resumes with errors on them. This is very similar to the last point. Though, it deserves its own section.
If you’re like most people, you would prefer not to be treated like just another cog in the wheel of the corporate world. It often happens in big companies; individuals lose their identities and are seen as just another number on the payroll sheet.
Well it shouldn’t be a surprise that employers don’t wanted to be treated that way either. As much as recruitment software has made the hiring process much less involved from the employer standpoint, at the end of the day there will be a person looking at your application.
They don’t want to see a generic, copy & pasted version of your resume and cover letter. This has been said time and time again, but every day recruiters and HR people are flooded with impersonal applications. It’s usually not difficult to find the right person to address your application too, but it goes a long way.
I once posted a job that got well over 100 applications. At the end I requested applicants send a resume and answer a couple simple questions to my personal email.
Over half didn’t send it to the right email. Most were addressed to “Whom it may concern,” or something similar even though my name was explicitly included.
Then I received one application with my full name (not included in the application). It turns out the guy looked me up on LinkedIn to make sure he got the right name. It was the only person who had put any extra effort in to make the application personal, and guess what? He got the job!