Not Getting Job Offers? Several Reasons Why

By Paula Fitzsimmons

Rejection stings, especially when it involves a job you really wanted or thought you’d be perfect for.

It’s essential that you learn to not take rejection personally . . .easier said than done, I know.  But getting turned down for a job isn’t a reflection of who you are or what you have to offer.

For one, you’re competing against dozens and even hundreds of other applicants – one hiring manager at an animal nonprofit recently told me she and her coworkers receive thousands of applications per year.

There are any number of other reasons why you may not be getting your dream job or called back for interviews. I’ve outlined a few of the big ones below.

You showed up to the interview in street clothes

Arrive at an interview unkempt, or in a tee, sweats, and sandals, and it’ll look like you’re not serious about the job. Just because the job you’re applying for involves animals or is with a nonprofit, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look like a pro.

Read “Are You Making a Good First Impression? Re-evaluating Your Interview Attire” for insights.


You waved one of these red flags

Employers want to hire workers who they believe will be an asset to the organization. Some signs that tell them you won’t be an asset include . . .

• Inflexibility.  Karen Windsor of Foster Parrots once told me, “When an applicant puts limits on how much they’re willing to work, this is an instant turn-off. This tells me that I’m going to have to spend a lot of time trying to fit my organization around the applicant’s limitations.”

• Arrogance. Karen says confidence is important, but arrogance is a turn-off: “I’ve interviewed people who I believe were judging me and my organization . . . Why would I ever consider hiring someone like that?”

• Being overly-focused on yourself. If you spend the interview concerned with what the organization can do for you, you likely won’t get an offer. As J. Christopher Scott of Save the Chimps puts it: “Candidates who are overly interested in pay and less interested in care quality also won’t make it very far.”

• A bad attitude. Chris says anyone who is harsh or difficult to work with may not be the best fit for a company that specializes in care.


What are you doing to stand apart from the competition? Read  “8 Ways to Stand Apart from the Pack” for ideas on how to shine to potential employers.


Your resume or letter of introduction is lackluster

You may have the best skills, credentials, and attitude, but to get in the door, you also have to look good on paper.  Take a microscopic look at your resume (or CV), cover letter, and letter of introduction (LOI). Or have someone you trust review them.

The tone of your letter should be professional, yet conversational, and shouldn’t read like a form letter. Take time to learn about the organization and craft a personalized letter, addressing it to a real person instead of “Hiring Manager” or “Sir/Madam.”

Read “Reach Out to Potential Employers with a Letter of Introduction” for more on LOIs.

There are a ton of resume writing resources available, but if I needed help crafting a resume, I’d start with the career resources pages of my local community college or university career centers. Or I’d check out tips and online resume examples at a reputable source like Quintessential LiveCareer.


You don’t have enough experience

You have a passion for animals, but what if you lack experience? If the job calls for special skills that you don’t have, consider finding a quality volunteer gig or internship. Or be willing to start with an organization at an entry-level position, so they can get to know and trust you.

Learn “How Volunteering Can Help Your Animal-Centered Career – And Where to Find the Best Opportunities” for more on this topic.


You haven’t applied for that many jobs

How many jobs have you applied for? If it’s just a couple, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get called back. Increase your odds by sending out more applications, resumes, and letters. Maybe the job offer won’t be with your dream organization, but it’ll at least get you in the door.

As a writer and journalist I’m familiar with the numbers game factor – for every article I submit that gets published, I also get a dozen or more rejection emails.


It’s not meant to be

For whatever reason, your interviewer didn’t think you’d be a good fit for the organization. Again, don’t take it personally. Organizational dynamics vary – so while you may not fit in with one organization, you may be perfect for another. Why would you want to work for a company where personalities may conflict, anyway?


What have you found to work – and backfire – with potential employers?

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