Interviewing for jobs is hard. Getting an interview is hard. 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 to try to perform better the next time, if only we understood what went wrong now.
When I hear from job seekers, they are almost always beat down. It’s a lot like dating. The entire process can be rough until you find the one person you happen to click with. Until that point, the experience is a sea of rejections and unanswered questions. 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 never got a job interview. But, because the job description was so extensive, it’s easy to find a spot where their experience didn’t align to the job posting. That’s right. They deducted that they weren’t a match based on what they know about the role.
The problem is, this logic is flawed. Don’t get me wrong. The job seeker could be correct. But, more than likely, a human never saw their job application at all. Unfortunately, the system of applying online is flawed. And, 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. In order to find a new job, I suggest job seekers try to set a goal to apply to 100 jobs. The number seems high, but it’s about increasing your odds. The more applications you put in (for roles you’re a fit for), the more likely you are to 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 are to get an interview.
Getting an interview is key. 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 important. And, 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 to other opportunities.