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The Number One Reason Why You Haven't Got An Interview (Yet)

Wondering why you have not got any interview?

There could be over 100 reasons:

• Lack of relevant skills

• Your resume is not optimized

• The competition is fierce

• An internal candidate got hired

• Job put on hold or closed

This list goes on and on.

Frankly, some of them are completely out of your control.

But the number one reason is actually within your power to change, today.

You might think, is it networking?

Well, as much as I am a big advocate on networking (and you should totally do it), the number one reason is that:

You have not applied to enough jobs.

Shocking right? But this is precisely what I have learned after coaching hundreds of students at 36paths (mostly university students and young professionals) trying to break into the finance/accounting industry.

Last week, someone asked me:

“Hey Shawn, how come I still got no interview? I have already applied to 20 jobs in the past month alone. This is so frustrating!”

Well, unfortunately, applying to 20 jobs a month is just not enough for most entry-level job seekers, unless you have an all-star resume and are well-connected in the field you are targeting. The reality is that on average only 2% of applicants will land an interview.

All other things being equal, the secret to 10X your odds of getting an interview is...drumroll please…

Simply 10X the number of jobs you apply.

I am not kidding – my experience tells me that most applicants are not applying to nearly enough jobs.

I mentioned this before, it is really a numbers game and being disciplined is key. For starters, I recommend applying to 10-20 jobs a day – that is what I did when I was looking for my first full-time job 4 years ago.

However, the common reaction I get from my students is that:

“Most entry-level jobs require minimum 2+ years of work experience, but I only have 2 internships. I don’t think I am qualified, so I did not apply.”

The depressing truth is that most entry-level jobs nowadays will ask for “minimum 2+ years of work experience” (I know it does not make any sense). But please don’t let this stop you from applying.

Why? Because work experience requirements on most job postings are inflated. And it seems that the experience inflation has been growing steadily over the years. I would not be surprised that in five years, a recent graduate will need “minimum 3+ years of work experience” to land their first full-time job.

So, my advice is to weed out those jobs that you are obviously underqualified for. For example, if you are a recent university graduate, “Senior Manager” positions are probably out of your league, for now. Or if you have no programming knowledge or skills whatsoever, applying to “Software Developer” will almost surely be a waste of your time and energy.

But feel free to apply to most entry-level positions in your target industry such as “[Fill-in-the-blank] Analyst”, as long as you meet some of the requirements (Yes, even if they ask for minimum 2+ years of work experience).

Remember: Just apply whenever you are in doubt.

After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.


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