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The Real Reason You Haven’t Gotten A Job, And It Isn’t Because There Is Anything Wrong With You

Dec 14, 2021

When you apply to job after job and you don’t hear anything back, it’s easy to question yourself. It’s easy to start feeling like there is something wrong with you. You might even start to think the only way to get a job is to go back to school or get a special certification. (I have a strong feeling that is one reason why women on average have more bachelor and graduate degrees than men even though on average we make less money.) We are quick to blame ourselves.

There could be a lot of other reasons you aren’t hearing back.


1. Your online presence needs work.

What should you do?

Edit your social media

Check your privacy settings on your other social media accounts. Have someone who isn’t connected with you look you up. You might have some stuff there that is not so desirable. Look for posts in which you rant or pictures of you that might not portray you in the best light. Change your privacy settings so potential employers will not see this.

I used to assume that no one would look at this stuff. Then, I worked closely with a hiring manager in another department that did an online search on every candidate before she interviewed them.


2. You are applying to the companies who don’t value you.

First let me say, if a company doesn’t look at your resume or filters you out for a reason that has nothing to do with your qualifications, it’s their loss. Also, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. Let me give you an example.

Some recruiters filter out candidates when they have any kind of gap in their resume. 45% of women applying to jobs in the US have a gap in their resume. Let me say that again. 45% of women have gaps. And men are more likely than ever to have gaps now too, as men are also choosing to take time off from their careers to be full time parents. That 45% doesn’t even begin to account for anyone who has not been able to do work due to visa restrictions. That is to say, companies who do this are losing out on candidates who are not only qualified, but often would bring something extra to the table – like a second language or an international perspective.

What should you do?

Research which companies share your values.

Let me tell you a true story.

Shelly went back to work after 10 years of being a full time parent. While she stayed at home with her three boys, she sold pampered chef and taught kickboxing classes, but it had been a decade since she had worked in property management. When she headed back into the workforce, she researched companies that were rated highly for moms. Sure enough, she got landed a position at one of these companies. She knew she was much more likely to get a callback if she only applied to companies who were known for hiring moms. It saved her the time of having to submit a larger quantity of applications.

Another benefit? The company gives her the flexibility she needs with her kids. Choosing companies that align with your values and strengths is beneficial in countless ways.


3. You’re applying for positions that get a lot of resumes.

If you apply to work at a huge company through the online application process, it’s extremely likely that your resume ends up at the bottom of a pile and never even gets looked at.

What should you do?

There are three options:

  1. Get a referral

  2. Look for contract work/vendor positions for that company

  3. Start with a smaller company. This feels like a concession for a lot of people, but it yields so many advantages.

As someone who has worked for the behemoths and the small guys, I can tell you that the smaller companies have several advantages:

  • It’s much easier to get promoted.

  • You can build your resume because you get to wear more hats, and sometimes even have flexibility about the areas you choose to spend time on.

  • You can find your passion while someone pays you, by starting in one team and then applying to work at another department in the company.

The moral of the story? Applying for jobs is like sales or dating. You have to put yourself out there a lot and experience rejection in order to land a position. Focus on what you can do, and know that it will take time.