20 Reasons Why You Can’t Get a Job

There is perhaps no feeling more frustrating than applying to a position you’re qualified for and never hearing back.

And while your resume and cover letter may be a perfect match for the role, you just can’t seem to catch a break and land an interview.

This is a common frustration and one that many applicants complain of.

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing why you can’t get that job or aren’t getting that interview.

There could be a plethora of reasons, including errors on your resume, errors on your cover letter, or the company simply having a different vision of what kind of candidate they want.

We’re going to discuss the 20 reasons why you can’t get a job but will also discuss what you can do to increase your chances.

Getting a job that you are both qualified for and passionate about can be a tricky predicament, however, if you put in the time in your applications and job search, you’ll increase your chances substantially.

Errors on Your Resume

Perhaps the most obvious reason, but many times a simple error on your resume may be enough to disqualify you from the position.

While seemingly unfair, many employers look to the resume as a reflection of the candidate.

A resume with errors or typos may indicate that the candidate did not take the time to ensure that everything was correct, essentially disqualifying them from the position.

How to Fix – you should review your resume before you begin sending in applications.

Go through your resume word by word and confirm that there are no errors or typos.

Once you’ve confirmed that everything is correct and there are no errors, you can move forward to the applications.

Not Customizing Your Resume for the Role

A majority of companies are beginning to utilize an applicant tracking system.

This system looks to confirm that an applicant’s resume contains certain keywords and skills that the employer is looking for.

As more and more companies begin to utilize an applicant tracking system, it is imperative that you customize your resume before each application.

How to Fix – you should review each job application and look at the required skills.

Make sure that those skills and keywords are included in your resume.

You don’t want to simply sprinkle them throughout, but rather make them bulleted skills or inclusions under your work experiences.

You Don’t Have the Required Experience

Not having the required experience can be an immediate disqualification.

Certain jobs have certain requirements which they cannot budge on.

If you see a skill or experience on a job listing that is required, you should make sure that you have that skill before applying.

How to Fix – if the required skill can be learned, you should go ahead and learn that skill on your own.

However, if you’re unable to learn that skill, it may simply be better to move onto the next role and skip applying to that one.

Lack of Job Loyalty

Many employers look to a candidate’s previous work history and like to see a certain level of loyalty.

While they don’t expect you to remain with one company for your entire career, they do like to see some time and commitment at each employer.

This is because there is a cost in hiring and replacing employees who leave a company.

Companies would rather hire an employee who will remain with them for the long-term and not have to worry about hiring someone else a year later.

How to Fix – if your resume shows a lot of hopping around, consider sticking with your current company a bit longer.

You should aim for a minimum of two-years, but more looks better if you have a history of job hopping and short job tenures.

Gaps in Employment

If you have significant gaps in your resume, typically anything over 6-months, employers may be hesitant to hire you.

While this is the blunt truth, it is one that can be overcome.

Employers may simply be hesitant as they would like more information and to get a better sense of what you have been doing during that time.

How to Fix – if you have large gaps in your resume, you should address it head on.

Indicate why you have such a large gap in your cover letter.

Explain the circumstances that led to the gap and how you are now primed and ready to get back into the workforce.

20 Reasons Why You Can’t Get a Job

You’re Applying to a Job You’re Overqualified For

Yes, there is such a thing as being too qualified.

If you have ten years of experience in a field, you shouldn’t be applying to an entry level position.

The employer may be hesitant to interview you or take your application seriously.

This is because your knowledge level is simply too great for the role and would be a disservice to your previous experience.

How to Fix – look for jobs that you are qualified for.

While it may seem tempting to apply to a position you’ve outgrown, it will likely lead to a dead-end and will do you no justice in applying.

You’re Unfamiliar with the Industry

Many industries operate in different and unique ways.

What may be acceptable in the marketing industry, may be seen as too relaxed in the finance industry.

While you shouldn’t shy away from applying to differing industries, understand that, that may be a disqualifier.

How to Fix – typically, in such a situation, you will want to address it directly on your cover letter.

Indicate why you want to switch industries and your passion about the new industry.

This will help you to connect with the hiring manager and give you a better shot at landing an interview.

Not Following Application Instructions

Many companies have specific instructions for applicants.

This can include entering certain information or making sure that certain information is included on your resume.

You should review the needs and instructions of each job application before submitting yours to ensure you are not immediately disqualified.

How to Fix – make sure you read the instructions on each job application.

Follow the instructions as they are written and double-check you followed them correctly before submitting your application.

You’re Not Giving Enough Information

For instance, if you’re applying to a position out of state, you should indicate your willingness to relocate and your plans for the future.

When applying to an open position, you don’t want to assume that the employer knows your plans.

Try to be as forthright and transparent as possible.

How to Fix – be transparent on your resume and cover letter.

Let the employer know your plans so that they don’t make assumptions which could impact your application.

Having an Incomplete Resume

Your resume is a reflection of yourself.

It is a living document which should be updated periodically.

As such, it should contain a healthy list of information on your previous experiences, skills, accomplishments, and achievements.

If your resume is missing this information, you may be disqualified from a position as you will be seen as a weak candidate.

How to Fix – make sure you list your major accomplishments and skills on your resume.

Include relevant work experiences, education, and certifications you may have achieved.

These will help you to be seen as a stronger candidate and will increase your chances at landing an interview.

20 Reasons Why You Can’t Get a Job

Not Hearing Back After an Interview

If you had an interview and did not hear back from the interviewer, you may have committed some of the following mistakes or errors.

Look through this list and prepare for your next interview to avoid making the same ones.

You Didn’t Practice

Interviews take practice.

You should prepare for one by reviewing the company and a list of commonly asked interview questions.

Conducting a mock interview with a close friend or family member will help you to feel more at ease and to be prepared for any question the interviewer may ask.

You Didn’t Ask Any Questions

Interviewers like to see that the candidate has an interest in what they are saying and in the company.

You can show this by asking pointed, direct questions regarding the role.

This will help to open up the conversation and build rapport between you and the interviewer.

You Didn’t Appear Professional

Appearance is a major factor in a hiring decision.

You should ensure that your dress is appropriate, professional, and standard for a business meeting.

Look to dress above your pay grade.

You should be clean and make sure your hygiene is taken care of.

Beards should be professionally trimmed if you opt to not go clean shaven.

You Appeared Disorganized

An interviewer looks at all aspects of any interviewee.

This includes not just their resume, but also their appearance, how they conduct themselves, and how prepared they are.

Therefore, when you have an interview scheduled, you should be prepared for it and bring along any items and documents you may need.

In addition, you should have your documents in a resume folder, allowing you to appear more professional and organized.

You Were Late

Perhaps one of the easiest mistakes to make, however being late for an interview can quickly disqualify you for the role.

Being late shows the interviewer that you are unorganized and are unable to manage your time.

If you are running late to an interview, you should let the interviewer know beforehand and give them ann approximate time of arrival as a basic courtesy.

Salary Discussions

Salary discussions are always a difficult one.

However, they have become easier I recent years with the influx of sites such as Glassdoor which provide a salary range for most job positions.

However, if you are asking for either too much or too little, you may be disqualifying yourself from the position.

While managers have some leeway to negotiate, they may be unable or unwilling to negotiate with a candidate that provides a salary request that is simply too much.


Another reason why you may not be getting the job is due to personal or professional references.

While you may never be 100% certain that a reference made a poor comment about you, you can follow-up with your references to ensure they are giving correct and glowing recommendations about you.

Not Following Up

It is absolutely imperative that you follow-up with the interviewer after the interview.

Although they may not respond, you should reach out to them and thank them for their time.

Be sure to throw in a personal reference from the interview and discuss how you are excited for the opportunity to work there.

You Came Off Rude

While difficult to tell, you should be respectful and professional during an interview.

Address the interviewer formally and try not to interrupt them.

You should give them your undivided attention and make sure that your phone and electronics are turned off or silenced.

Speak calmly and intelligently throughout the interview.

You Lacked Enthusiasm

While you don’t need to be jumping off the walls with excitement, you should show a certain level of excitement and enthusiasm during the interview.

You should let it be known that you are excited for the opportunity and excited for the role.

Discuss with the interviewer why you want to work there and how much you admire the company and the work they do.

This will help the interviewer see you as a more realistic candidate and can help you land the job offer.


Job applications are difficult.

Although we listed the 20 reasons why you can’t get a job, there may be other, more nuanced reasons.

However, you shouldn’t despair.

Job applications sometimes come down to a numbers game and you may simply need to increase the total number of applications you are submitting.

Read through this list and make sure that you take each reason into account.

If you find that you have these reasons pat down, then you will have a much higher chance of landing that job.

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