How come I am always rejected when it comes to job applications? What am I doing wrong?
Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin
You have applied for a job for the nth time, but you are still not hired. This is a very frustrating experience. While others are enjoying their positions in their companies, you are left wondering why you are still jobless. You may be asking what is wrong with you. So here are some of the primary reasons why you are being rejected.
• Failing to do research on the company. Since it is easy to get information off the internet, it is a gross blunder not to check out company websites. Find out the company’s product line or services, history, key personnel, mission statement, and other information. This will give you a rich source of material to guide your conversation during the interview.
• Poorly written resume. Never make a generic resume (or worse, use a commercially printed biodata form!). Make sure that you prepare different resumes for different companies, especially if you are applying for different positions. Customize each resume, so that you can address the unique requirements of each company. Proofread to spot all typographical and grammar errors.
• No cover letter. Always include a cover letter with your resume. Cover letters should be no more than one page. They should list your qualifications and experience. Know the name of the hiring manager, so you can address your letter directly to her/him.
• Not specifying career objectives. Write clear and specific job goals. State why you can be an asset to the company. Don’t just copy objectives off the internet; personalize them to the company you’re applying to.
• Relying on online applications. These days it is easier to send applications via email. However, personally submitting your resume increases your chances of finding a job. As it is easier to apply online, take note that many others are submitting their applications using this method.
• Poor references. Make sure that the people you have written in your references still remember you. They should also give good recommendations! Otherwise, it would be worse than giving no references. It would be best to call your references beforehand so that there would be no unpleasant surprises.
• Bad employment history. Fighting with your former boss or being involved in office anomalies will permanently affect your credentials. A lot of hiring officers will call your previous company to ask for your employment record. Try your best to leave your previous company in good terms.
• Gaps in employment record. Hiring officers are easily turned off by unexplained periods of unemployment. Some would think you may be hiding something and so it would be best to avoid gaps; at least be prepared to explain what they were (i.e., time off for childbirth or injury, returning to your studies).
• Not qualified. Do not apply for jobs you are not adequately competent. While it is true that the job descriptions in the advertisements are not to be taken too strictly, you should carefully assess if you really can perform well in that position.
• Failure to write your contact number. Check and double-check your application letter. Forgetting to include your telephone numbers may be the reason why you cannot be contacted. Note too that including a land line will be advantageous as it will further establish your place of residence.
• Poor communication skills. Use proper grammar and diction. Practice modulating your voice to make it sound more pleasant. Make sure that you speak loud and clear. Also, be ready for common questions; don’t just parrot the suggested responses you got from old Classifieds issues, adapt it to your situation and the question at hand.
• Improper attire. Do not dress too casually. Avoid shorts, slippers, tight jeans, or indecent attire. Dress conservatively. Come in your clean and proper business attire. For women, avoid wearing excessive make-ups especially if you are young.
• Badmouthing your previous employer. This is unprofessional! People will think that you might do the same thing to them after you have left the company. The hiring manager sees this as a negative attribute; an interview is not the proper venue to air your grievances.
• Coming late for the interview. Arriving late for the interview is disrespectful; be assured that no excuse will suffice. The interviewer will simply conclude that you will be chronically tardy if hired.
• Visible tattoos, ridiculous haircuts, body piercings. Funny, but this may be scaring your potential employers! People with tattoos are often suspected of having a criminal backgrounds, not many people can appreciate the artistic value of good tattoo. Many companies also view those with body piercings and fancy haircuts or hair dyed pink, green, or other unconventional colors as potential trouble makers.
• Asking for a a high entry salary. Remember that companies have a standard salary for their employees. If you demand for a higher salary, you might get rejected simply because they cannot afford you.
• Application form not completely filled-up. Some companies still give application forms even if you have submitted a resume. Read and follow instructions before filling-up the application forms given by the companies. If you leave some items blank, the hiring officer might think that you are withholding information or are unable to follow directions.
• Being a show-off or a braggart. Do not boast about your credentials; make your points in a professional manner without appearing arrogant. Avoid mentioning achievements if they are not relevant.
• Committing other improprieties. Do not chew gum while being interviewed. Always turn off your cell phone before presenting yourself for interview. Cell phones’ ringing is quite distracting, and many hiring officers find this annoying. Texting or taking a call while being interviewed is a NO-NO!
After the interview
• Failing to thank the interviewer. Politeness must always be observed. You must not fail to show appreciation for the opportunity to be interviewed. In case of a close decision, small expressions of good manners may be what tips the balance in your favour.
• Not following-up. Even if told to just wait for their call, it is better if you make a polite follow-up so that you will know immediately if you were hired or if you must move on. In addition, there are times when their ideal candidate accepts another offer or did not do well on the job. In this case, if you are next in line, they may be glad to save on the expense of looking for a replacement. Calling them shows that you are persistent, and interested in the job. However, do not do this repeatedly, as this is quite irritating.
There are countless reasons why you may not be the chosen one, but ultimately most of the factors are within your control. Employers want to hire employees who are qualified, capable, and who would not give them problems. Understand, however, that they cannot read your mind. They can only judge based on what you show and say to them. Avoiding the blunders listed here would boost your chances of finally landing your dream job.
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