1. You’re over/under-qualified.
This is the number one factor that determines whether you get to interview stage or not. It’s no surprise that if you’re under-qualified you don’t have a chance. If the job listing asks for five years experience in an office and you have three, don’t bother applying. It’s tempting to say ‘but I have three years experience, surely this is enough’. Granted, asking for this much experience for a relatively low-skilled office job is a bit much. I see ads like this all the time where the requirements are truly out of reach for the average job-seeker. I find it baffling, especially when the job involves tasks that are easy to learn. However, it’s better to move on to the next listing than pine over the job you don’t meet the criteria for. Being under-qualified or under-experienced is one thing, but it’s much more frustrating when you are over-qualified. This has been the defining trait of my personal job-hunting experience. It takes a l ot of perseverance to remain pro-active and motivated when you fill in applications for jobs that you are well equipped to do and never hear anything back simply because your application looks out of place. Employers will seldom hire anyone who is over-qualified simply because the job candidate in question is not a good risk to take. When you send your polished CV detailing all of your decorated achievements for an entry level job, you’re not actually impressing the employer. They look at your application and say ‘no way’. Why? Because they see you as someone who is obviously only applying because you’re desperate/need money/need work to pay the bills and they think you will only work for them until something better comes along. My advice is: tailor your CV for each job you apply for and actually cut out the things that don’t relate to the job. This is not a fun thing to do, believe me. That PhD you are so proud of? It will scare the company looking for a secretary, mark my words.
2. Your CV doesn’t address things properly
Everyone thinks writing a CV is easy and yet so many people don’t know how to do it. Employers are tired of the old recycled phrases such as ‘good teamwork’ or ‘works well under pressure’ especially when you either provide a vague, unconvincing example or none at all. Next month I will be doing an article that will help with this. I advise anyone who is unemployed to research this further as it will save you a lot of time and will make the difference between securing an interview and no t.
3. You’re lazy
This is a reason we don’t like to hear but it’s true. Laziness is a product of this spoiled generation who don’t really want to work and so they end up going to university to do something ridiculous like Philosophy or Film Studies. Seriously, do you know any actual philosophers who get paid? Really? Do you know anyone who was in your Film Studies class who is actually working regular hours on a stable wage? A rarity. It’s all very nice to say that you can achieve anything, dream big and so on, but at the end of the day, the fab ric of the world is made up of workers in jobs that wasn’t quite what they had in mind. At school age, students act like life is so hard because they’re being pressured to choose what they want to do. The truth is, we don’t know how good we have it. There are bigger underlying problems here like perhaps the silliness of school career advisers who don’t clip the student round the ear when they say ‘I want to be an actress.’ Oh, I’m such a pessimist, right? Well, in reality, I’m the true optimist here, because I believe that happiness and contentment have very little to do with the occupation you’re in. If you want to pursue an unrealistic career, that’s your prerogative. I’m all for doing what you love, but too often I have seen people who skip from one dream to another and never dedicate themselves to anything. This pattern convinces me that a lot of dreamers like this are in fact people who want to avoid the real world of wo rk.
Until next month, yours sincerely, The Skeptic
by Gillian Rixey
(Gillian is a PhD qualified freelance writer and scholar born in Ireland but currently residing in the United States.)