Getting an interview is hard. Interviewing for jobs takes a lot of work. This is especially true when you don’t know someone already at the company where you’re applying. Through the process of automated email rejections to our job applications, we try to make sense of it all.
It’s human nature to try to piece together what we can’t see. It helps us to feel more in control. It helps us try to perform better next time if only we understand what went wrong.
When I hear from job seekers, they are almost always beaten down. It’s a lot like dating. The entire process can be rough until you find the one person you happen to click with. The experience is a sea of rejections and unanswered questions until that point.
When you ask a job seeker why they weren’t hired, you’ll hear common themes: “I didn’t meet the minimum number of years of experience required.” “I’ve never worked in that industry before.” “They weren’t impressed with my job history.”
What is interesting is what comes next. If you ask the same jobseeker how they received this feedback, they didn’t. Very often, they have yet to get a job interview. Because the job description was so extensive, it was easy to find a spot where their experience didn’t align with the job posting. They deduced that they weren’t a match based on what they knew about the role.
The problem is this logic is flawed. The job seeker could be correct. More than likely, a human has yet to see their job application. Unfortunately, the system of applying online needs to be fixed. Beyond that, online job postings allow hundreds of people to apply to a single posting with just a few clicks.
Sadly, job searching has evolved into a numbers game. To find a new job, job seekers should set a goal of applying to 100 jobs. The number seems high, but it’s about increasing your odds. The more applications you put in, the more likely you will get an interview.
The more often you have a friend refer you to a role who already works at the company, the more likely you are to get an interview. The more often you email the hiring manager directly, the more likely you will get an interview.
The interview is critical. If you don’t speak to a human, it’s possible a human never saw your resume. That’s why applying to so many jobs is essential. That’s why going the extra mile by tapping your network is important. Set goals and stick to them.
When you are rejected, try to accept that a large part of the problem is the system. Every rejection should not be taken as a personal attack but as a message to keep applying for other opportunities.
— Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at angelacopeland.com.