Next Stop: Your Magazine Dream Job

The Lesser-Known Reasons You’re Not Getting an Interview

By Kelsey Mulvey

We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you: Finding a new job is so time-consuming, it feels like a job in itself. You spend hours combing your favorite outlets’ career board (and Ed2010’s Whisper Jobs, of course), selecting your best clips, crafting a thoughtful cover letter — and for what? Most of the time, you don’t even make it to the next round, let alone receive a “thanks, but no thanks” email.

There a lot of reasons you may not getting an interview. A lack of experience or submitting your resume too late are just two of them. But if you’re submitting job applications by the dozens and still not hearing anything, there’s a chance you’re making a mistake without realizing it.

A few recruiters shared lesser-known reasons you’re not getting the interview. Trust us, it’s worth scrolling through before you submit yet another job application.

1. You’re over (or under) qualified

“Focus job search efforts and applications on jobs that meet your experience.”  — Robin Schwartz, PHR, Managing Partner of MFG Jobs

Talent Fairy Tip: Look at the years of experience listed in the job description and abide by them. It’ll save you time you could be spending on jobs that are right for you!

2. You are a generalist.

“Your resume doesn’t include your subject area specialties or deep experience in any one skill area. Everyone wants to hire a specialist. Most roles in media are for specialists: a content strategist with experience at a health brand. A social media manager for a personal finance site. If your resume looks like you are jack of all trades, but not a master at one, I’m not calling.” — Chandra Turner, CEO, The Talent Fairy 

Talent Fairy Tip: Edit your resume so it’s hyper-focused for your new career track. Remove all the irrelevant subject areas and skills (like that time you worked on the tablet edition) and pump up the relevant ones.

3. Your resume isn’t bot or AI friendly.

“Tailor your resume each time you apply to a job. Make sure the keywords
from the job announcement can be found throughout your resume or cover
letter.” — Schwartz

Talent Fairy Tip: Use the “How You Match” tool on Linked In to make sure that the skills the job asks for align with the skills in your resume/portfolio.

4. You didn’t follow directions.

“Are they requiring you to submit work samples? Do they want them in link form? Or is attachment form acceptable? If you don’t follow directions pre-employment, I can’t be sure you’ll do so post-employment.” — Marek

Talent Fairy Tip:  Get on their good side and make sure all the materials you provide are easy to read, download, or reach via a link (no reg walls or passwords for portfolios).

5. Your resume has  gaps.

“Address any gaps in employment on your resume. If you’ve engaged in
contract work, make sure that’s clear and the employer doesn’t just think
you job hop.” — Schwartz

Talent Fairy Tip: Make yourself a “consultant” or a “freelancer” during that time. Chances are you were doing something that you could make count.

6. HR doesn’t know how to reach you

“This is surprising, but some people don’t include the preferred means of contacting on their information. Always include your phone number and email address. Also, check your spam box frequently after applying for a job or gig. You may find your interview offer waiting for you there!” —  Marek

Talent Fairy Tip: Also always include where you live. You don’t have to list your street address but don’t hide your location. It just makes recruiters and hiring managers suspicious.

7. Your application has grammatical errors or typos.

“An immediate turn off for me when reviewing is grammatical errors (no matter how small). Ensure your cover letter, resume, and writing samples are perfect prior to submission. Consider having someone proof your work prior to submission.” – Kimberly Marek, MS, PHR,  Owner of 7 Charming Sisters and HR Expert

Talent Fairy Tip: For goodness sakes, have a friend copyedit it for you! Or hire a pro.

Kelsey Mulvey is a New York writer.  She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Time Out New York,, Taste of Home, Check out more of her work at and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


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