The “Employer’s Block” – Why Employer Rejected My Resume

If you are a blogger, you will perhaps familiar with the term blogger’s block or writer’s blog. I do not know who was first to introduce the phrase (If I am not wrong it is Darren Rowse of ProBlogger) but blogger’s block refers to a situation that prevents you from blogging. In other words, you become stuck going forward and you can’t write.

So what is an employer’s block? Using similar analogy, employer’s block refers to a state that prevents the employer from picking you up as a possible job candidate after going your resume. This leaves you with no chance of attending job interview and prove your worth. And this happens due to a reason or few reasons that we may never know.

Sometimes, we feel that we have written good enough resume that we think that the employer will call us for that long awaited interview schedule. But the call never comes, and we want to know why. While it is probably impossible to know the real truth why, it is always possible to analyze the possibilities and come out with a list of reasons why the employer decided to reject your resume, and hence rejecting you as a potential employee in their company.

The Employer is Busy or Incompetent

You may be surprised learning this fact, but I know a lot of job candidates were denied an opportunity to attend interview due to the human error and incompetency of the employer side. For example, when the hiring manager is busy and preoccupied with his or her daily routine and deadlines, there is a chance your resume is read, put aside and then forgotten. They intend to shortlist you but because they have other matters to attend first, your profile is closed and then soon gone from their memory and will not come back.

Busyness makes them incompetent. Normally these are the type of employers who often complain that there are not enough decent candidates for them to choose.

This is also a reason why I always ask job seekers to find ways to apply for the job using alternative and secondary method. For example, after applying an advertised job in Jobstreet.com, find a way where you can get in touch with the employer directly, talk to them, and send your application via email or post. There will be no harm in sending duplicated application as long as you have all the facts intact. It reduces the possibilities of of your resume being overlooked. Furthermore, unless you know how to insert html codes into your online resume to make it look outstanding(content aside), your Jobstreet resume will look very much similar with other candidates.

The Employer Knows You, or Have Learned About You

This is especially true when you are working in a specialized area. The smaller the area or field, the higher the possibility of the other employers to know you. In the headhunting world, do not think people know you because you are good in your job. People also know you when you suck at your job. By knowing this they can avoid you. It is like flipping a coin. On one side, find those who are good at their job, approach them, and offer them a job. On the other side, for those who are not good at their job, avoid them, and never offer a job to them.

An Optimization Engineer may work with Maxis today and after 2 years later find himself working with DIGI for similar position. After 3 years, he might be working with Ericsson. Over the course of 6 years or so, he will be bumping into those people who have previously worked with him either as a team member, client, partner, vendor and so on. That is how networking works. You know people, get a new network, and you grow it through your network’s network. You do a good job, people know you. You do a bad job, people know you too. If you are having problems with the previous or current employers, sooner or later the potential employers will know you.

Employment Gaps in Resume, or Job Hopper

Gaps of employment in your resume makes your resume looks bad. The employer might cut you a slack if it is only one gap. But if there are many of them, then they will start not liking your resume and you. Your chance of being shortlisted may fall well below half of other competing job candidates.

So is there a solution for this? The traditional school of taught says one way to close employment gaps in resume is by writing a functional resume, as opposed to the normal, chronological resume. A functional resume is a resume where the skills, job scope and achievements of different employments are bundled together. The problem with this is that, almost 100% of employers that I talked to told me they prefer the chronological resume. They don’t like the functional one because of difficulties to see the flow of employment history.

So what is my choice? If you ask me, I will advice not leaving gaps in your employment. If you really want to leave a company because you can’t stay any longer, don’t quit until you have secured another job, otherwise you will be up for a tough time when you start searching for job.

Also, if you work with 3 different companies in a 1 year period, not only your loyalty to the companies will be questioned, the amount of experience you gain is also limited. 4 or 5 months period of working will hardly give you solid experience.
Skills and Work Specialization Too Diversified

Diversification of skills and specialization is good as long as they are not very far distinguished from each other. If they are, then the employer will find it difficult to determine which area you are strongest at, and which area that interests you most. For example, as an account personnel, switching from the account payable to account receivable or general ledger will give better knowledge and experience and add value to your marketability.

But if you switch job from being an IT Programmer to a Customer Service Officer, then it is a major switch of specialization, and if you switch back to an IT job or other job specialization many years later, then something is wrong with your career progression. Not only you find it difficult to land another job with higher salary & compensation package, you will surely encounter problem in growing in your field. So choose a field, become very good at it, and grow vertically and not horizontally.

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