Being passed over for a job never feels good. You wonder why the company rejected you and you think that maybe you’re doing something, unknowingly, that is causing you to lose out on career opportunities. The good news, if you can look at the silver lining, is that you now have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct them. You just need to figure out where your mistakes were made and how to avoid making them again.

Rejected at the Resume Stage:

Many times you can place the blame on your resume not meeting the keyword search criteria companies look for in submitted resumes. For example, when an HR manager is looking for a Social Media Expert, they will scan the resume for words such as “HTML Proficient” or “Extensive Social Media Experience” in order to see if the candidate’s expertise and career history matches what they’re looking for. If your resume does not contain keywords that relate to the position you are applying for, your resume may be overlooked right from the get-go.

Correct this situation easily by updating your resume using keywords found in the job description. There are different software options that you can use to identify keywords, but you can also do this on your own, or if you are able to, hire a professional resume writer who is trained specifically to create a resume that is rich in keywords to highlight your best skills.

If you’ve been rejected due to having more experience than the position calls for, you can also make changes to your resume to avoid this issue in the future.
■Delete past jobs that do not correspond to your current search.
■Do not list positions that you have had more than 15 years ago. This makes you seem more expensive and narrows your opportunities.
■Add a personal brand statement to your resume that specifically states that how you are qualified for the position.

Rejected at the Interview Stage:

Think back through the interview. Were there any specific areas that the interviewer negatively focused on? Did they show concern for one area over another? How did you answer specific questions related to the position you were interviewing for? A client once told me that an interviewer remarked that he had had a lot of jobs over a short period of time. My client didn’t know how to respond, and even though he thought the interview went well, he didn’t think that the interviewer could get past that part of the interview, as my client didn’t get an offer extended to him. If you think that you’ve slipped up during the interview, then email the interviewer and ask about how the interview went. Meanwhile, take some time and research tips for being prepared for interviews and interview questions to ensure that you are ready the next time you get called for an interview.

Think honestly about the position. Were you truly qualified for that position or was the company a good match for you? Often times, interviewers can see through veiled attempts to just “land a job”. If this is the case, just accept that the position or company was not right for you and move on. Always make sure that you are applying for jobs that are suitable to your skillset and personality. You may not have all of the qualifications required for the position you are applying for, but if you can show that you have some of skills required for the position, you may still have a shot at getting the job.

Having a resume that truly markets all you have to offer and being fully prepared for a job interview will help you land the right career with the right company. The job search process can be frustrating and tireless at times. Keep a positive attitude and always find ways to evaluate your performance and keep on improving!

Related posts:

  1. How Can Social Media Affect Your Job Search?
  2. Identifying and Overcoming Common Job Search Misconceptions
  3. Job Hunting with a Conviction on Your Record
  4. How to Network on LinkedIn
  5. Networking Tools for Your Job Search

4 Responses


You bring up some good points, Ava. Many job seekers are applying for jobs they may not be qualified for, just to try to find a job. If you interview for a job you don’t really want, or aren’t qualified for, you’re wasting your time and the company’s.


Thanks Ken!

~ Ava

[...] be demoralizing. But, it’s also a learning experience. What went wrong? How can I correct this problem? What is holding me [...]

[...] all, the job you have supports you. You don’t want to be part of the thousands who do not have a job. If you take care of your job, your job will take care of [...]

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