Why am I not getting a job offer?

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Job applications not working out? Do you get called for interviews but never get a call back? Or worse, you don’t get called for interviews at all?

You’re scratching your head now and getting frustrated because your qualifications and experience measure up but you can’t seem to snag that elusive job. What’s up universe?

If you’re stuck in job search limbo, go through the following steps to see where you may have tripped and set it right:

  1. Are you applying to the right jobs?

    Did you research about Canadian job requirements? Do you know how they call your profession in Canada? Do you know the jobs related to your profession and what they are called?

    Unfamiliarity with the job market will make it hard for you to find the right jobs to apply to. And if your job is regulated in Canada, trying to get in your field and applying to the same job level will not work unless you undergo licensing or registration first. How to set it right: Check the Job Bank to see the job description, duties, education and job requirements, wages and outlook for your profession. While you’re at it, learn about related occupations to expand your options and increase your likelihood of getting a job.

  2. Is your resume the right format?

    Is your resume three pages long? Does it contain every single job experience you’ve had in your career? Do you send the same resume for every job application? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you should learn how to make a Canadian-style resume.

    A Canadian-style resume is succinct, targeted and tailored to the specific job you are applying for. This means that you include and highlight only the details that relate to the job post. Resumes are usually no more than two pages long and would include key terms that would help you get shortlisted for an interview. How to set it right: Get help. Attend a resume-writing seminar or get a career counsellor (see Community Resources below). These are free assistance from experts you should not pass up.

  3. Did you make a cover letter?

    Did you know that many recruiters look for a cover letter even when they do not specify it in their job ad? A good cover letter would be one that summarizes your resume and illustrates why you are the right fit for the job. The letter has to be engaging, personalized and easy to read. How to set it right: Follow the tips on 8 cover letter qualities that will get you that interview.

  4. Did you follow the instructions for sending the application?

    Many employers now prefer online applications rather than thru (snail) mail. Most also specify how to send it (by email or via a portal). Some add other instructions such as a specific addressee (for example “To the Hiring Manager”) and a subject line (for example: Job Requisition # 1234). If you did not follow the instructions to the letter, there’s a good chance that your application did not make it to the recruiter. With the thousands of applications recruiters receive every day, they will not have the luxury of going through each email sent to them. How to set it right: Always read and re-read the job ad. Take special note of submission instructions. Highlight the steps (set them in bold letters) or write them down on a separate sheet or document so that you don’t forget. Sometimes we get too excited when we are ready to submit our application that we miss a few details.

  5. Did you follow-up?

    If answered Yes to all of the four questions prior to this, then you should follow-up. This is one of the most important steps to the job search process but one that is the most neglected by job seekers. Unless it is stated in the job ad that the company will not entertain follow ups, you should do it! When done well, it is important for many reasons:

    • It can help the recruiter put your application on top of the pile.
    • It can help you reiterate your interest in the company and the position.
    • It shows that you are a proactive and determined individual.
    • If you were not shortlisted, you can find out what you may have missed. This is an opening for you to consult the recruiter for tips on how to make your application better the next time you apply.
    • You can establish a connection with an insider. And this is valuable! You now have a contact you can ask for an informational interview. That HR person may even contact you for positions you may be a better fit for.

    For more tips on making a follow-up call or email, read: How to follow up job applications.

  6. How was the interview?

    Review how the interview went.

    • Did you show good communication skills?
    • Did you express yourself well in English? We’re you able to get your ideas across confidently and clearly?

    • Did you market yourself well?
    • Were you confident? Did you provide knowledgeable answers? Were you able to state specific instances when you practised your skills effectively?

    • Did you do your homework?
    • Were you able to ask thoughtful questions about the position and the company? Did your questions show that you studied and researched thoroughly?

    • Did your personality shine through?
    • Were you polite, cheerful and pleasant to talk to? Did you show your enthusiasm for the job?

    Read: The most common job interview questions you should prepare for and How to research an employer before a job interview.

    If you feel that you did well in the interview, then there must have been other factors that came into play. To get a clear answer, you should consult the employer. Read What to do when you don’t get the job to help you get clear, useful and honest feedback that could help you get a job offer on your next application.

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Community Resources

The Young Canadians site (formerly Youth.gc site) has plenty of tools that you can use to help you craft a resume, find work, find trainings, explore careers and many others.

Resume writing is part of Manitoba Start’s skills workshops. They also hold job fairs, and offer job matching, as well as career and language trainings.

If you need more help on crafting a resume, you can attend employment seminars or ask the help of a career counsellor from the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centre nearest you.

Read How to stay motivated through a rough job search for more strategies to beat this temporary phase.

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