You tried for a career change or at least a job change. You saw a project management job that you wanted and you went for it. But it didn't happen – for whatever reason it just didn't work out. Unfortunately, you likely aren't going to get feedback from the hiring organization. If you didn't get an interview, then you probably won't even get a reply to an email. If you were a finalist, you likely still won't get any good feedback – hiring organizations are too worried about liability so they really can't tell you much. You'll have to either guess or go to some third party source to give you resume feedback and coach you on putting together a better resume, cover letter and interviewing repertoire.
Or, you can read through my five potential reasons for not getting the job and see if they seem to apply to your situation. If any do, then turn one or more or all into “tips” to follow for your next job application. Good luck!
1. No quantifiable experience listed. When the hiring organization is reviewing your resume, they want to see numbers and outcomes...something they can see as a return on investment (ROI). Success is nice, but leading a $1.25 million project and coming in 2 weeks early and getting $110,000 in project client change orders approved tells them much more. When you can list team sizes and dollar values on budgets managed and projects led, do so...those quantifiable things will set you apart from the competition.
2. Tech skill set doesn't match the job description. More organizations seem to want some hands on experience from the project manager for the projects they will be overseeing. Make sure your resume shows you have that technical or hands-on experience or state it in your cover letter. Or better yet, put it in both places so they don't miss it. If you don't show this and they want it – and most of them want it – then that is likely why you are getting passed over...even if you are otherwise the perfect candidate for the job.
3. Short job tenures. You may have been hired away on one or more previous jobs because you're great or you may have been promoted fast but if you break every position out in your résumé it may make you look like a job hopper. That raises a red flag to any organization quickly – even if you are a finalist. They may be concerned that they are going to bring you on board, get you up to speed – all of which costs them time and money – only to have you leave quickly for another job. If your resume makes you look like a hopper, then leave off the months and only list years on your jobs and combine positions with the same company to show longer company-specific tenures. It will help...trust me.
4. Not bold enough. Maybe your resume sounded too wishy-washy. It needs to be bold. It needs to say “I'm the one for the job” (not literally, but you know what I mean). You can do that – at least partially – with the quantifiable information mentioned above. But use bold words whenever possible. If you want the job, then really go after it. Read your cover letter and resume over one more time. Does it really say “I'm the one, hire me!” If it doesn't, then why should they?
5. You didn't follow up. If you want the job bad enough, the follow up may push you over the edge. If you haven't heard back in 2-3 days after submission, try following up with a call and/or email. If you interviewed and don't hear back, call. They likely won't be able to give you much feedback, as I stated earlier, but you never know. It may be a lingering doubt with your commitment on the position even if you did your best to sell yourself. A call back may hit the right person who will tell you that...which you then promptly follow up with an email stating your desire and any relevant info to the entire interviewing team...asap.
Summary / call for input
If you didn't get the job you really wanted, the problem is likely you, not them. Somehow you didn't quite “sell” yourself enough. Try these tips next time to make the outcome a better one.
How about our readers? What tips would you add to these to give the job applicant a better chance next time around?
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