Sometimes, even though you know in your heart you'd be perfect for a certain job or company, things don't go your way.
And while it can be easy to say it was just bad luck, there are many other factors at play when a recruiter or hiring manager is deciding on the right person.
Knowing what you might have done wrong means you're in with a better chance the next time the perfect job advertisement rolls around, so read on for reasons why you didn't make the cut…
1. Your CV was weak
Your CV is there for one reason only – to get you noticed and get you an interview. Avoid long, rambling sentences or "personal statements" about your dreams and desires and instead focus on your skills and what you can bring to that position. One huge no-no is firing out ten copies of the same CV to ten different companies. Tailor each CV and cover letter to the job and company you are applying for. Employers want to know that your skills are relevant and that you could be the right person for the role they're offering.
2. Your application got lost in the mix
If you're applying to a large company, try to avoid sending your CV out into cyberspace with a bland "To whom it may concern" at the top. Some quick Googling will usually provide you with the name and email address of someone in a relevant role – ideally the person you'd be reporting to or a HR manager. Already you're showing initiative and are more likely to be remembered.
3. You didn't have the right experience
If all your experience is in graphic design, don't assume you'll get that restaurant job just because it's "easy work." Again, tailoring your CV is key. If your experience is not exactly relevant, focus on skills you used in each previous role that would help in this new job. And remember, all experience counts if it's linked to the job you're applying for.
4. You had big gaps on your CV
Maybe you were unemployed for a year or maybe you were off seeing the world, but don't just leave a whole twelve months blank on your CV. If you did any freelance or volunteering work, be sure to include it to show that you weren't just watching Netflix for a full year. Unless you were, in which case, let's hope they love Orange is the New Black too!
5. You didn't prepare for the interview
When in doubt, over-prepare! Whether that means printing three copies of your CV, having a list of references ready, or bringing a portfolio of writing samples, being organised will make you stand out. When it comes to research, don't just focus on the company and the job description, but also on the function of the job. Try to get an idea of the day-to-day roles and what it would take to become successful in that specific role. If you're not clear, ask informed questions at the interview – it'll show you're interested.
6. You spoke too negatively
Ok, so your last boss was a crazy a**hole. Rather than getting off on the wrong foot with your new prospective employer by telling her how much you hated your old job, put a positive spin on your experience. You "weren't challenged" or you "didn't feel it was a good fit." Speaking negatively in an interview is a big dealbreaker. Even if you're asked to speak about a difficult situation you overcame, be sure to end on a positive note and discuss what you learnt from the incident.
7. You didn't follow up
Where possible, send a follow-up email within 24 hours of your interview ending. This is especially important if you interviewed with just one person as you're already building up a personal interaction with them. A quick thank you is all that's necessary to make you stand out from the crowd.