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Article by Natalie Severt

You submitted what you thought was a great resume – but for some reason, you didn’t get the job. What went wrong?

Even if your resume truly was great, there are additional things that can hold back an otherwise excellent candidate. Your resume may have been trashed for one of the four reasons below:

1. You Didn’t Tailor Your Resume to the Position

A shocking 50 percent of people don’t meet the basic requirements of jobs they apply for. The majority of job seekers spend less time reading a job description than they think they do. Nearly half (44 percent) believe they spend up to five minutes reading, whereas eye-tracking technology shows they spend just about a minute or less.

It’s crucial to really study the job description before you start tweaking your resume. So, first things first: You need to tailor your resume to the position, and the only way to do that is to thoroughly read the job description so you know what skills to include and expand upon.

In the end, recruiters want to see the skills they asked for in the job post. When you are considering how to construct your resume, it’s all about integrating those keyword skills from the job description throughout your resume. If you haven’t done this, it could be the main reason why you didn’t get the job.

2. You Job Hop

How long do you typically stay with one company? If the answer is “about a year,” you’re not alone. Most young adults in the U.S. hold an average of 7.2 jobs by the time they’re 28. That’s almost one job a year if you start at 18!

mountainFurthermore, your taste for job hopping is an expensive one. In fact, it can cost a company 6-9 months’ worth of an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. Good recruiters will avoid hiring job hoppers unless they find information that could offset the cost and risk.

You have to show a hiring manager that you’re worth it, that the value you will bring to the company is going to outweigh the costs you’ll generate. You can do that by adding quantifiable accomplishments to your resume. For example:

- Generated $5,000 in cost savings after negotiating a new contract with vendors.

- Increased sales by 15 percent after implementing automated email campaigns.

Give the impression that you’ll generate fantastic value for the company, even if it’s only for a short time.

3. You Haven’t Had a Job in Six Months

If you haven’t had a job in six months, that’s probably the reason why you didn’t get the job now. Having too many jobs is a problem, but having too few is worse.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 7 million unemployed Americans. Of those, 2 million are in a state of “long-term unemployment,” meaning they’ve been out of work for more than a month.

If you go six months without a job, it becomes almost impossible to get a new job because hiring managers won’t even look at your resume.

What can you do? You need to give your resume to someone who knows that you’re worth it. Start by building a LinkedIn profile and leveraging your network to look for open positions and referrals. Around 40 percent of all hires come from job referrals, even though they make up only 7 percent of applications. If someone vouches for you from the inside, you’re much more likely to land the job.

If you don’t have an inside connection, contact a hiring manager without a referral. Send a message via LinkedIn that offers something of value and provides a convincing reason to connect. Once you’ve made positive contact, you can send your resume directly to the hiring manager, along with a personalized email.

4. You’re Overqualified for the Position

Let’s say you applied for a lower-ranking position because you want to have a better work/life balance. You might not have gotten the job because your resume confused the recruiters. Why would you apply for a job that’s “beneath” you?

cover-letterIt’s best to anticipate such confusion. Tell the hiring manager that you know what you’re applying for and you have your reasons. You can do this in a well-written resume summary and cover letter.

On a related note, it may also be the case that you took a “lower” job to make ends meet. Then, when you applied for a job more in line with your career path/professional level, you didn’t get it. That might be because working a job that is “beneath” you can make employers look warily at you.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t work as a barista after graduation. But if you do that, consider taking on extra work that’s more in line with you career path. Volunteer work, freelancing, internships – all can be good ways to gain experience in your chosen field while working a day job outside that field. Put this experience at the top of your resume to show that you’ve developed your primary skill set despite any setbacks you may have faced.

If you didn’t get a job for one of these reasons, you can always improve your resume and get the next one. It takes some forethought and effort, but it’s possible. Think about how you come across to recruiters, adjust your approach accordingly, and you just might land your next interview.

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

Natalie Severt is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder. She writes about how to create successful resumes so that you can land your dream job. 



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