The 7 Real Reasons Why You Are Not Getting a Job – The Truth in Numbers

Real Reasons Why You are Not Getting a Job. As a career coach and outplacement advisor, I’ve helped hundreds of job hunters secure new jobs.  Over this time I’ve learned that the majority of candidates hunt, with little knowledge of what actually happens when they apply for jobs. That is a huge mistake.

I have 7 reasons that prove where the real job search ‘handicaps’ are and how understanding this can help you to easily double your chances of landing an interview and a job.

#1 You are competing with hundreds of other applicants

The numbers vary with job type and industry but on average 250 resumes are received for each corporate job opening in the first 3 days of posting online. Finding a position opening late can’t help your chances because the first resume is received within minutes of a position being posted. If your job search is limited to jobsites and if you are applying primarily via SEEK, beware that you are facing off against massive competition.  Approximately 180,000 resumes are posted on SEEK alone each and every week.

The Solution: Set up a job search plan – search and apply away and independent

#2 You keep applying for jobs you are not qualified for

Education and skills are only one part of the qualifications.  HR Managers report that over 50 percent of applicants for a typical job fail to meet the basic qualifications for that job (Wall Street Journal). Part of the reason for that high “not-qualified” rate is too many job hunters are “ speed-searching” and fail to pay attention to the real requirements for jobs which they thought was a “fit” for them. We now know that they spend as little as 50-60 seconds reading and assessing a position description that they apply for (AFR). Most of that job selection time reviewing the position description is actually spent reviewing the introductory section of the JD that only covers the job title, compensation, and location. Too many applicants end up applying for jobs where they have no chance of being selected because they are speed –searching.

The Solution: Set up a job search plan – search and actually spend the necessary time reviewing and comparing side-by-side the requirements to your own qualifications, skills , experiences, cultural fit and more.

#3 Yes, 30 seconds is all you get to impress

Ask any hiring professional (the odd exception excluded) and they will tell you that they spend 30 seconds maximum reviewing each individual resume that has been highlighted by the ATS. You may be shocked to know that the average recruiter spends a mere 10 seconds reviewing a resume.

A study from Be Hiring found the review time to be – 10 seconds. Obviously 10 seconds only allows a recruiter to quickly scan (but not properly read) a resume.

Cover Letters: If you still believe the information in your cover letter will provide added support for your qualifications, you might be interested to know that a mere 17 percent of recruiters bother to read cover letters (BeHiring). They are generally only requested to assist the hiring professionals with the de-selection process via ATS. So if a cover letter is requested, you better do a good job.

#4 If your application is not ATS proof you’re reducing your chances by 60% +

Recent research by LINKEDIN showed that the format of your documents matters a great deal. Having a clear format that presents relevant information where hiring professionals expect it will improve the rating of a resume by a recruiter by a whopping 60 percent without any change to the content (a 6.2 versus a 3.9 usability rating for the less-professionally organised resume). And if you make the common mistake of putting your resume in a word or PDF format that is not parsable, then you should realise your resume is OUT (meaning instant rejection).

The Solution: It is 2017 – create a modern ATS proof resume, focus on what matters and consider hiring a professional to help you to secure job interviews.

#5 Even if your resume fits the job posting, your chances may still be low…

Thousands of job ads that applicants are reading are poorly written, out of date or not even for real jobs. Applicants who have spent the time to fully read the job posting, may still end up applying for a job that exists only online. So even though an applicant actually meets the written qualifications, there won’t be any interviews because after they applied, the business decided that they actually wanted a different set of qualifications.

The Solution: Read up, research the role – and avoid these Top 5 Mistakes 90% of Job Hunters Make

#6 Only customised applications make it through a keyword search

Nearly half of our clients don’t read the footnotes in job ads advising them when an ATS system is in use .This first screening step scans documents for keywords that indicate that an applicant fits a particular job. I estimate that more that 90 percent of candidates apply using their standard resume (without any customisation). This silly approach dramatically increases the odds of instant rejection because applications that are not addressing the job at hand will seldom include the required “keywords” to qualify for the next step; a review by a human eye.

The Solution: Read up, create an ATS optimised resume and – learn how to read job ads and avoid outdated or phishing ads

#7 Let the hiring “Funnel” help you to gauge your chances

Most recruiters and HR Managers have what is known as a ‘hiring funnel’ or yield model for every job. Here is how the funnels work. For the specific case of an online job posting, on average, 1000 individuals will see a job post, 200 will begin the application process, 100 will complete the application, 75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by either the ATS or a recruiter, 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager, 4 to 6 will be invited for an interview, 1 to 3 of them will be invited back for final interview, 1 will be offered that job and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it (Talent Function Group LLC).


The all-too-common job search approach is based on outdated and/or naive ideas and actions. Hope and Fear are the Enemies of Job Hunting. My advice both to the blue and white collar job hunters is to search in an informed and well prepared way or you increase the likelihood that you will search a long time.

21st century Information makes you competent. Get started and remember to hunt wisely!