Why Your Job Application Was Automatically Rejected

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Why did your job application get rejected? If you don’t hear back from potential employers after submitting your resume, then you’re probably thinking that something is wrong.

The number of applications received by employers has increased dramatically over the last decade. This trend is expected to continue into the future.

As a result, companies are now using automated systems to screen applicants. These systems are designed to eliminate human error in the hiring process. Unfortunately, these systems also reject qualified candidates who don’t meet their criteria.

Aside from the use of automated systems, there are also other factors that need to be considered that might have contributed to the reason why your job application was automatically rejected.

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Reasons why your job application was automatically rejected

When you apply for jobs online, there are multiple reasons why you might receive rejection notices. There could be something wrong with your resume, cover letter, or even your social media presence.

You may have applied for too many positions at once. Or maybe you just haven’t been applying enough. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how you can improve your chances of getting hired.

In my experience, most people don’t realize that they’ve done anything wrong when they get rejected from a job opportunity. They think that the employer must have found someone better suited for the position.

In reality, however, the hiring manager may simply have had a change of heart about working with you.

To get into detail, let’s go ahead and talk about the most common reasons why you got rejected:

Your resume was not optimized with keywords 

One of the reasons why resumes don’t work well online is that they aren’t optimized for the job description. In fact, there are many reasons why resumes don’t work very well online, but it boils down to one thing: keywords.

If you want to be found online, make sure your resume includes the most relevant keywords possible.

You’re probably underqualified or overqualified for the job

Another potential reason why your resume might be rejected is that you’re either too qualified or not enough qualified, for the job.

This situation happens often when recruiters aren’t aware of the full range of skills required for a given role. So, how do you know if you’re overqualified for the job?

Here are three reasons why you might be rejected based on your credentials:

1. You don’t match the requirements. If the job description doesn’t mention what the ideal candidate should look like, or what specific skills are needed, there’s no way to tell if you’re qualified.

2. Your resume says one thing. While the job posting says something else. Sometimes employers use different words to describe similar roles, so make sure your resume matches up with the job listing exactly.

3. They’ve already hired someone. Some companies hire people based on referrals, so if you’ve worked with someone recently, chances are they’ll remember you.

You probably forgot to send a cover letter

If you’re not used to sending cover letters, now’s the time to start.

A cover letter is basically a one-page piece of writing that gives employers a glimpse into how you’ll fit into their organization.

It gives you the opportunity to really focus on your skills and accomplishments and highlight the qualities that make you stand out above others.

In a resume, you’re limited to just a few lines to explain what you’ve accomplished at a specific position.

But a cover letter allows you to go into depth about your work history and achievements, giving you the chance to show off your best work.

The competition for the job position you’re applying for is too high

The economy is improving, but it’s not getting better everywhere. In fact, some areas are struggling worse than others.

As businesses become more competitive, they become pickier about whom they hire. And since many companies are looking for the best talent, they often find themselves competing against each other for the same people.

This is why it’s important to make sure you stand out among the crowd. You can do this by making yourself unique. For example, you could offer something extra, like free training or mentorship. Or maybe you can show off how much money you’ve saved the company over the years.

Whatever you do, don’t just apply for the sake of applying. Make sure you really want the job, and that you’d be happy working there.

Your work experience does not match the job position you’re applying for

The majority of recruiters say that this rejection reason is among the most common reasons they reject applicants.

And while some recruiters prefer to see that applicants are highly qualified, others believe that having a mismatch between experience and job requirements makes it harder to hire someone.

Typically, being underqualified is probably the root cause. But it could also be that you’re applying for a position in a slightly different role, or for a completely different industry altogether.

So what does this mean for job seekers? Being underqualified isn’t always the issue. Sometimes, it might just be that you’re applying for a job that requires skills that aren’t yours.

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You didn’t follow instructions when you applied

If you’re looking for work, it pays to read the fine print carefully. Many companies require that you submit certain documents along with your resume.

These include things like references and writing samples. Some companies even ask you to send them copies of your college transcripts.

You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity because you didn’t pay close attention to the requirements.

When you apply online, you’ll see a box where you can indicate whether you’ve submitted everything that’s needed. If you haven’t followed directions, you might find yourself rejected without even getting a callback.

Lying on your application

Job applicants are being warned about making mistakes such as exaggerating qualifications and lying on their applications. 

In my experience, I found that most people don’t realize how easy it is to check someone’s online presence. Your potential future employer might even do it themselves without asking you.

And if you’re applying for jobs in a particular field where employers are likely to conduct such searches, you may want to make sure that everything about your professional life is up to date.

In addition, many big businesses now run background checks on candidates before offering them jobs.

Someone was already internally hired for the position you’re applying for

This is one of the trickiest reasons to explain. The truth is, you never had a chance to compete against the selected candidate in the first place.

But it doesn’t matter. Even if they were better than you, chances are that the hiring manager wasn’t interested in you anyway.

It’s possible that the other candidate had a stronger connection with the hiring manager. In any case, you should focus on improving your own skills instead of worrying about what other people did.

You can learn from your rejections by taking an honest look at why you didn’t get the job. And then use those insights to improve your next application.

What you can do to avoid getting rejected

You might think it’s impossible to work somewhere where you don’t feel like you belong. After all, how could someone else possibly know what makes you tick better than yourself?

However, there are some situations where companies are willing to give you a chance even though you lack experience.

If you’re looking for a job outside of your field, here are three things you can do to stand out among the crowd:

1. Apply for jobs that seem like a stretch

If you’ve been working in a certain industry for a while, chances are you’ll be able to tell whether or not a prospective employer wants to hire you based on your resume alone.

But if you want to demonstrate that you’re a great fit, consider applying for jobs that don’t match up with your previous experience.

For example, perhaps you have a degree in accounting but you’d really love to work in marketing. Or maybe you’re interested in becoming a graphic designer but your current skillset doesn’t include anything design related.

Whatever your dream job is, you can probably find a way to showcase your talents in ways that align with the position.

2. Make sure your application stands out

In addition to showing off your skills, you’ll also want to highlight why you’re a perfect candidate for the role.

Do you have relevant certifications? Have you worked at a similar company? Are you particularly passionate about the position?

All of these factors play into determining whether or not you’re a good fit. So make sure that you highlight these qualities in your cover letter and interview responses.

3. Show your enthusiasm

Your enthusiasm for the job isn’t something you can fake. Instead, it’s one of those intangible traits that people either possess naturally or don’t.

Therefore, if you’re struggling to convince potential employers that you’re excited about the opportunity, try asking friends or family members for recommendations. They can help you figure out how enthusiastic you sound during interviews.


The bottom line is this: You have no idea how many applications you submitted before landing that dream job.

So when you get rejected, take it as a sign that you need to keep trying.

And remember: It doesn’t matter if you weren’t hired because another applicant was more qualified. What matters is that you learned something new about yourself along the way.

That’s why you should always apply again—and again—until you land that dream job.

On a side note, if you want to increase your chances of landing that dream job, our expert resume writers can help you secure an interview with an optimized resume.

Now go forth and get hired!

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