The main reasons you aren't getting hired

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Your job search has been going on for ages. Everyone says that a company would be lucky to have you working for them. Finding a job has become more than a full-time job. You’ve been diligently applying for jobs that you’re obviously qualified for… but you’re still not hearing back. What gives? 

Even in a workers’ job market, hiring managers receive many applications for every job they post. Going through those applications takes time. Often, hiring managers think they can save themselves time by looking for easy (for them!) reasons to dismiss an applicant without even spending time to consider skills and experience. 

So let’s take a look at some of these easy-to-fix issues that you can correct to give yourself the best chance to be considered. Avoid these five killer mistakes to get your fair share of attention in the application process!

Mistake #1: Typos, text-speak, and slang, oh my!

Everybody makes typing mistakes. And filling in job applications can be a pain. But does that mean a hiring manager won’t ding you for typos? Unfortunately, no. Often a hiring manager will draw a connection between how careful and diligent you were in your application with how careful and diligent you will be on the job, and a single typo can mean an instant “no.”

Hiring managers also sometimes draw similar conclusions from slang, informal language, emojis, and spelling. Abbreviations and spellings that are common in texting are not always acceptable in the working world (even if the job you are applying to does not include typing). The hiring manager might think: “If this applicant can’t be bothered to use common professional language and spelling in a job application, can I trust them to follow standard procedures on the job? Or will they take shortcuts and “go their own way” there, too?”

Don’t make it easy for hiring managers to wrongly decide that you’re sloppy about your work, or that you can’t or don’t like to follow standards others set.

How to fix it:

First, look over your Snagajob profile. Make sure your bio and the description of your responsibilities in your work history are free of typos, slang, and text speak.

Second, be ready to fill in more complicated job applications, too: not all jobs have Easy Apply applications (we know, it makes us sad, too!), so make sure you’ve also cleaned up your resume and any other materials you use to fill in job applications. And when you do fill in online job applications, just take the extra minute or two to get everything right.

Mistake #2: Your profile is too sparse

If the application asked for your work or education history, did you leave it blank just so you could submit the application faster?

That matters to employers! Unless you are high school age, leaving your history blank on an application risks looks like you’re taking shortcuts, even for “no experience required” jobs. And a hiring manager might think “if they take shortcuts here, what shortcuts would they take on the job?”

How to fix it:

Take the time to fill in these crucial parts of your online jobs profile, and when you’re applying to jobs, don’t leave them blank.

  1. Your work experience. If you have a lot of experience, put in as much as you feel comfortable with, but try to cover your most recent work history. If you are looking for your first job, it’s really okay to leave it blank, but you can also be smart about listing informal teen hustles like babysitting (childcare!), lawn work, (grounds maintenance!) and some volunteer jobs.

  2. Your education. Include your highest finished level of schooling, and if you are currently working towards your next degree, you can enter that as a second item with a status of “currently enrolled.” If you haven’t finished high school yet, you can still fill in “high school” and either select “currently enrolled” or “neither” to make sure you don’t just leave this blank.

  3. Skills. Snagajob makes it easy by giving you some choices to click.

  4. Your bio. It’s a good idea to put a sentence or two here. Keep it professional and about work, like what kind of role you’re looking for or your best qualities as a worker, like your dependability.

Mistake #3: You haven’t followed up on your application

So, you’ve filled out a great application and your skillset is a perfect match for the job. Sounds like a lock, right? Not necessarily.

Hiring managers are extremely busy, and even the most organized ones will sometimes let things fall through the cracks. That’s why we usually recommend that you always plan on reaching out to the employer yourself within a week of submitting an application. If you’re not showing how much you want the job, you’re not getting hired because there’s someone else who’s showing that they’re more motivated than you are.

How to fix it:

Don’t assume that a company will always call you back–even if you’re the best candidate. When you submit a job application, set yourself a reminder in your calendar app or your phone to follow up within 3-5 days later.

Your follow-up doesn’t need to sell yourself as a candidate all over again. It should just be a brief professional outreach where you reiterate your full name, the name of the position and the location you applied for (hiring managers might be hiring for different positions at different locations), with politely expressed enthusiasm for the role. Don’t overthink it! We’ve got some samples for you to look at!

Mistake #4: Your email address is just too fun

At the application stage, hiring managers are just looking for people based on whether you can do the work, not your personal flair.

Sometimes the things that make you likable and successful in your personal life are better to scale back in job applications. You and your friends might love your email address that refers to your favorite TV show, sports team, family bonds, pets, or hobby. But some hiring managers just have a gut reaction and unfairly decide that you care more about those things than about being good at your job. (Or worse: they disagree with your opinion about the best football team ever, and now you’re getting the side-eye).

You don’t want to give someone an easy excuse to rule you out for a job you’d be great at. You want them to focus on your skills, not your personality.

How to fix it:

We’re not saying you have to change your personality or hobbies. We are saying that email addresses are free. So if you don’t already have one, get yourself a clean email address that’s just based on your name. Just make sure you check it during your job search.

Mistake #5: Your contact information is out-of-date

If the hiring manager invites you to interview but the email bounces, or if they try to call you and don’t get through, they’re definitely not going to spend any time trying to track you down–they’ll just move on to the next candidate.

How to fix it:

Double-check (and maybe triple-check) the contact information you enter on your jobs profile and into any job applications you submit. Mistakes happen a lot, and while we can blame our thumb-typing or auto-fill, you don’t get a second chance for something so easy to get right with just a little attention.

The bottom line

Not getting hired after countless job applications and interviews can be frustrating. Pay attention to the details, do your research, and show that you’re motivated. Avoid these killer mistakes and you’ll be one step closer to getting hired.

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