5 Reasons You Can’t Land An Interview


The bills are piling up. It has been months since you lost your job. You are becoming extremely concerned. You feel as if you have done everything you can to secure a new job opportunity, but nothing has become fruitful – not even an interview.

Related: 6 Ways To Be Interesting During Your Interview

If this sounds familiar, don’t despair. I sympathize and many, unfortunately, are in your situation. Ironically, although the job market is challenged, usually there are blocks in a job search.

5 Reasons You Can’t Land An Interview

Let’s discuss possible obstacles that could be wedging themselves in-between you and your new job.

1. Your Resume Does Not Outdistance Others

Contrary to what you have been taught and what you have been practicing in the craftsmanship of your resume—a resume is not the place to dump your entire career life. Because it IS a marketing tool, it must be visually enticing, and the content so compelling it ignites action and quickly.

How? In order for YOU to create the need for an employer to call you and not others, there has to be something about your resume that captures interest over the rest and infuses the reader with the desire to know more about you (hence, creating the need to call you). This is key as many job seekers write their resume by including ALL their information and then think, “Hey, this is a pretty decent resume.”

My questions to you: Does your resume promise results and offer differentiating value over others who are also qualified? And does it convey this in the most interesting, unique, and succinct manner possible? What is in your marketing dossier that has revealed a gem, and added value, a ‘je ne sais quoi’ no one else has listed? Or in a manner no one else has told it?

Think about this: How is your employer to choose you if you sound just like the other thousands of applicants who have a pretty decent resume too? Luck?

2. The Jobs Are Wrong For You

Part of  a successful job search is perusing job ads and identifying which you are an ideal match for – Not, “I could do this.” That is not enough. Remember, there are many people unemployed now. Why would an employer settle for less? You must be the ideal candidate. Take the time to study the job ads, review the requirements, match their needs with your skill set, and launch a strategic job search.

Ultimately, you will feel more optimistic. It’s very difficult to remain upbeat when you have distributed hundreds of resumes and no one has called. Diminish the number of resume submissions; instead, target quality and perfect-for-you job leads in order to optimize the responses to your candidacy.

3. You’re Not Searching In The Right Place

Job boards work. I have seen it work first-hand. However, are you limiting your job search to just online job boards? Please don’t. You must launch an integrated job search campaign that leverages online job boards, social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, networking in person, and prospecting offline.

How do you tap into the hidden job market? You uncover it by performing research on the companies in your area and industry of choice. What do they sell? Who are their clients? What is their mission? Where is their Human Resource department? Could they use someone like you? Then channel some courage and call on them, e-mail them your resume, or approach someone in the company via LinkedIn. Whatever you can do to tastefully gain a contact in the company – do it!

4. Your Expectations Are Too High

I am a believer in we all deserve the best and the job of our dreams—absolutely. But, does it have to be at this very moment? With an unstable economy and a poor job situation – why not accept employment that may pay you less than you expected but perhaps the possibility for growth is immense? How about employment in which the benefits package is more attractive than the annual salary? Remember it’s all temporary. This of course is ideal advice if you are in real need of immediate income.

5. You’re Not Asking For Help

I have helped clients who have not told their close friends and relatives they are out of work. Why? This is no time to “keep up with the Joneses” or to nurture your pride. There is no shame in needing a job. You will never know who can step up and assist you. You don’t have to give others a sob story; simply mailing your resume and job target with an upbeat message can help you communicate your need without worrying everyone around you. It’s all in the presentation.

Last, remember to revisit your online profiles/resumes as most candidate searches are performed based on activity in the last 30 days. And, keep in touch with your references and network connections. (Out of sight, out of mind.)

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How To Answer 7 Of The Most Common Interview Questions
Top 3 Tips For Phone Interviews
How To Ace The Panel Interview

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas | Resume Branding Expert

About the author

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is a job search strategist who is triple-certified as an (MRW) Master Resume Writer, (NCRW) Nationally Certified, and (ACRW) Academy Certified Resume Writer. Additional qualifications include job search coaching and social media consulting. Visit her website here.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is the owner of Career Steering, an executive resume writing service. She's an Elite Master Resume Writer, Certified Expert Resume Writer, Nationally Certified Resume Writer, and Academy Certified Resume Writer.


  1. Dear Rosa,
    As there are many people posting here as a means to harp around or vent their anger I like to blend in Or maybe not.
    Your article “5 Reasons You Can’t Land An Interview” made me think, especially #2.
    Identifying the right job is essential and I sincerely agree with you on that. However, I noticed lately that many job ads are more or less face or even worse do not pack the essential information to identify the necessary criteria.
    Let me explain this.
    (1) the face ads:
    As competition get harder due to economic and financial pressure on employers face job ads are used as a marketing tool which is inexpensive and creates an image of the employer of being prosperous because new jobs are created of need to be re-staffed. The worst alternative here is just to train the employers HR staff. You can tell when the same job is posted every one or two month.
    (2) the employer doesn’t know what he/she really needs and or wants:
    This alternative I came across more than once is something interesting I would like to say. It is interesting in a way that certain employers use a kind of tin-can description for a position but I found out that the mentioned contact is not capable to answer specific questions regarding the position at hand. There is no knowledge of the duties or responsibilities of the posted job. On certain occasions I had to notice that even people in a special department where the job actually is are not able to give a professional (here: insight information without undue disclose) feedback on the position.

    This said I am wondering how to acquire the much needed information to weed things out and please don’t tell me to check out the employers homepage or use google because that doesn’t work in most industries because the vital information is not to be found there.

    Kind regards

  2. Great post Rosa, especially item #2 – The Jobs are Wrong for You. Consider this as well… even if the job is right for you, your resume may be wrong for the job! Job seekers must customize their resume, with job description keywords, for each and every online job application.
    Yes, customizing a resume can be a mind-numbing task. You need to review the job description and figure out which keywords are not only important to the employer but also relevant to your experience.
    If you’d like some help with resume customization and the keyword process visit For a small subscription fee ($7/month unlimited usage), the site will unlock the resume keyword mystery for you. compares your resume to a job description you’ve selected and returns a customized keyword list. Just edit your resume using keywords from the list that are relevant to your experience. It’s really that simple!

  3. Yes, the expression LITERALLY translates to “I don’t know that”, but it is more akin to the English phrases “I can’t put my finger on it” or “a certain something”. Meaning that while it seems she may have misused the phrase when translating literally, that is not the intended connotation of the phrase when said in either language. She used it appropriately.

  4. Great post! There is no question that standing out is a major problem in getting an interview. Just because you qualify for a position does not mean that other people applying are not. In fact, employers see so many resumes that there are probably many others who qualify. It is important that your resume stands out, and a video resume can be a great way to do this. A video resume can convey personality and charisma when a piece of paper cannot.

  5. Great article! Number 1 especially. I would recommend compiling a “master” resume and then creating a tailored made one for each position that you apply for that echoes the job description thus making it a “no brainer” for the employer to call you in for an interview.

  6. Um, it’s “je ne sais quoi” — not “qua,” which is (perhaps) the Latin term. I’m amazed the author didn’t make the effort to check, particularly given the context and his advice. Best advice I’ve had: avoid foreign phrases altogether and where there is ANY doubt at all, check a dictionary rather than just using spellcheck.

    Otherwise not a bad article.

    • I am really getting tired of people on this site that have nothing better to do than criticize other people’s posting on “miss spelled words”! If you don’t have any thing nice to say, then please keep your thoughts to yourself. A lot of us are going through a real tough time, with unemployment, and your criticism does not help!

      Thank you!

  7. Regarding #4. In today’s economy, employers can afford to low-ball pay, while demanding significant skills and experience. A job that would normally be a senior engineer, with commensurate pay, is advertised (in the title) as a junior or mid-level engineer. The skills listed are obviously for a senior engineer and the experience is significant. But, the employer wants to only pay a mid-level pay rate.
    For those of us who are senior, both in experience and age, its a difficult choice to make. It seems like a step backward. Logic says that when the employer sees how good we are, then the pay will increase. But, will it? Or, will we be pigeon holed as a senior person who is happy working for less money? Minor item, too. When another opportunity arises, we’ll need to tell the new employer just how little we’ve been accepting. And, that will affect the future pay.

  8. Excellent advice although I’d appreciate input regarding #4. One challenge I – and many friends – have encountered when looking at jobs that perhaps pay less but are a fit is that companies see us as being overqualified; they don’t see it as a chance to get someone highly qualified for a better price. Therefore, they’re concerned (and rightly so) that we’ll leave once the economy improves, which of course means the opportunity evaporates.

    • I agree with your comment, I have been told that I was over qualified and companies wanting to pay less, for the same qualifications. It’s like they want someone with less years of experience, to reap the benefits, though they do not want to compensate them for the same work, compared to some one with more experience.

  9. Je ne sais quoi what [laughing]. But seriously, in response to the article I have one comment. I interviewed for a job paying half of what I was making. I knew the interview was essentially over when the hiring manager said to me, “I’m concerned you won’t be happy at this job given your high profile background (and compensation)”. So point number four I would question to some measure.

  10. This is a helpful article, although it seems to me that #4 should be a choice of last resort. I understand that everything about employment is temporary, and that we all need to zig in order to zag into our ideal work situation, but settling prematurely on something that is less than your heart’s desire can set you back in immeasurable ways that can take a long time to catch up on. I would recommend doing so with caution, and only in dire circumstances.

    Finally, as a French speaker, I am compelled to correct one small item: it’s “je ne sais quoi.”

  11. There’s also some darker possibilities, they talk about currency inflation, there’s also the idea of job market inflation, people cooking the books to tweak statistics, there’s also the idea that now we live in a day and age of security background checking, and if you have any kind of frownie-face in your police record, well, that’s part of HR screening, too. Now that they can do it with digital efficiency…

    But, take off the tinfoil hat, and assume for argument’s sake that there’s nothing wrong with you along those lines, and that job listings are 100% honest and current, what does it take to get hired in a day and age when employers are actively pressuring the federal government to let them have more foreign visa workers, in a time period of a ‘down’ economy, when there’s just not that much money out there, maybe, or your chosen field might not be all it’s cracked up to be, that kind of thing? Times are tough all over, if you follow the news, some countries have been flirting with economic collapse the last couple years. You might have to lower the expectations a little, and adjust and adapt to what’s there, which might not be much.

    Much depends on your answer to one question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad do you want a job, 10 being the highest? If your answer isn’t 8+, then your motivation level could be affecting the situation. Also, how’s the networking skills? Communications have become very, very important in the modern age. If you’re on the job hunt, you need to be constantly trying to contact people about work, anything you’re qualified to do, anything you have some experience in.

    Also, timing is everything, leave the door open for some of that dumb luck. And, look at yourself critically, or if you can’t self-critique, have someone else look you over from a professional standpoint. They might be able to spot stuff that you either didn’t know, or might have known, but didn’t think it was that big a deal. Think in terms of used cars. There’s a lot of cars on the lot, what makes this one special, or better than the others? Are you a competitive ‘sell’?

    Also, for older job seekers, keep the car comparison in mind…new is nicer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *