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Why You Didn't Get That Job

Wednesday, 9 Sep 2009 | 10:48 AM ET
Unemployment
Unemployment

At every workshop, I invariably get a question asking for the “real” reason: the real reason a candidate doesn’t get called back, the real reason a resume gets to the top of the pile, the real reason someone gets hired or not.

Many jobseekers seem to believe that there is some back story that is hidden from them.

I rarely get anyone who admits they blew an interview and asks how to fix it.

Yet, accepting blame for the lack of success in your job search is the first step in figuring out the “real” reasons you are not getting selected for interviews, callbacks or jobs. While it’s sometimes true that forces beyond your control come into play unbeknownst to you, for the most part, the real reasons you were not selected are things you can improve upon for next time.

Here are some of the uncontrollable scenarios that might happen:

  • The budget for the position disappears so whether they like you or not becomes irrelevant;
  • The position changes such that you no longer fit the new specifications even if you might have before;
  • Someone internally raises their hand for the spot so all external candidates including you get dismissed.

What can you do about the above? You can only keep working on your search, accept the fact that some of your leads will go away due to scenarios that you don’t control, and therefore try to pursue as many leads simultaneously as possibly.

Here are some of the scenarios you do control:

Your resume and other marketing materials position you at the right level and salary;

Your networking technique enables you to tell your story in a way that engages prospective employers and positions you as the answer to their pressing business concerns;

Your interview responses clearly and concisely demonstrate your value and make the prospective employer anxious to hire you at all costs.

If you don’t think your job search technique currently accomplishes the above, then that is the real reason you haven’t been hired.

In some cases, it might be the uncontrollable, but in most cases, you are in control.

So take control of your search and give people real reasons to want to hire you.

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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com

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