Job Search Tips

Why Your Job Application Was Rejected

Written by Peter Jones

Sometimes we get rejected from a job and it has nothing to do with us personally or the quality of our applications. There was some outside factor we may never know that determined the outcome, but it wasn’t something to get too down about. There are cases, however, where there probably was something we could have done better.

If you’ve been getting a lot of rejections lately, it might be worth considering if perhaps there is something you’ve been doing wrong. Here are 5 things you might be getting wrong in the job search process that could be affecting your application.

1. You didn’t follow directions

Follow job application instructions to the letter. Always always always format your files to the exact specifications. If it calls for double-spacing, or plain text, or a word limit, observe these guidelines as gospel dogma. And if an essay or a bit of creative work is required, while it is important to show creativity and unique thinking, it is more important not to flaunt the instructions you were given. Within those directions, however, you’re free to think as far outside of the box as you’re allowed.

2. You didn’t answer the question(s)

If a recruiter or an application asks you for a piece of information, chances are that information is valuable, if not crucial, to their decision-making process. Companies put a great deal into their application materials. Interviewers also. If you’re asked for an answer, give one. Don’t wait to answer certain questions at the interview—if you don’t follow through on what you’re asked, you might never get one!

3. You don’t explain the gaps

Never simply assume that a recruiter won’t notice a significant gap in your work history. Always account for it in your cover letter, or the resume itself. And don’t be shy about highlighting your professional accomplishments during your work gap.

4. You made careless mistakes

You have spellcheck for a reason. At this point in your life, it would be absolutely embarrassing to submit an application, or even just a resume, with any spelling, grammatical, or formatting errors. Or worse, using industry terminology incorrectly. Would you hire someone so careless? No. Proofread at least twice.

5. You lied

Embellish nothing. Do not fib. Do not falsely represent yourself or your experience. And do not plagiarize. You will get caught and the consequences will not be good. Better to be 100% truthful and accurate.

Have you committed any of these sins? Run through your materials to check and save yourself the potential (possibly inevitable) heartbreak.

About the author

Peter Jones