If you are asking yourself this question, there could be a number of reasons ranging from the way you present yourself on paper to the way you present yourself in person. Here are some reasons why you might not be landing a job you really want, or even an interview.
Your resume and cover letter are far too general. If you are using the same resume and cover letter for every position you are applying for, it’s a problem. Employers can tell when you have spent time learning about their company and reflect how your strengths would be valuable to them. You need to show this in your cover letter and highlight your best attributes for that position in your resume. If the employer already senses that you did not spend a lot of time on your application process, chances are they will not think you’ll spend a lot of time working hard for them, even if you would. (Also, make sure you get another pair of eyes on your materials for typos and editing mistakes!)
You are not following up. Are you acting like you care if you get the interview? Have you called to make sure they received your materials? If not, you probably are not going to make a strong impression on them, especially if your resume and cover letter is extremely general. Follow the advice in #1 and then follow up!
Your interviewing skills are subpar. Are you answering the questions with articulate, well-researched answers? Are you asking articulate, well-researched questions in return? Make sure you are looking at each company very closely and find certain niches where you know you can add to their work in a valuable way. Every employer wants to see that you are on the team, and you are going to grow with them. If you do not act very interested at the interview, they won’t be either.
Your appearance is shabby. Yes, it’s sad but true…shine those shoes, trim your nails, iron your clothes. This is important. And, don’t overdo it on the perfume or cologne; you don’t want that to be the lasting impression you left in the room, and not in a good way.
You have not consulted with a recruiter. Recruiters know the field where you are applying. They know what employers are looking for in a candidate. Have a recruiter go over your resume and cover letter for each type of company, and practice interviewing. Ask questions about your style. A recruiter wants to place you, and they are not going to charge you! They win when the company picks their candidate, so they want you to shine.
It’s sometimes hard to look at ourselves critically when we know we work hard and have many skills that can add value. Resumes and cover letters are not always fun to work on and update, but if you contact a recruiter to help you, chances are, you’ll land a job much faster!