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Strategically Speaking: Are YOU the reason you haven't been hired?

Have you been unsuccessful at landing a job? There may be some underlying reasons. Self-sabotage could be one of them.

Do your cover letter and resume include specific examples of your initiative, ability to multitask and problem solve with results?

Using the job description, do you have stories that show how you can meet the company's needs?

If not, you may be selling yourself short and sabotaging your job search.

Other things you may be doing to kill your chances are:

Lying. Address issues directly. Long periods of unemployment, being laid off or misdemeanors or felonies should be explained. Choose your wording carefully, especially if you are not to blame or have paid your debt to society. Yes, some hiring managers will eliminate you immediately, but do you really want to work for them?

Weak cover letter. Does your cover letter sell you? Is it short and to the point? Does it highlight your knowledge of the company and focus on how your skills and abilities fit the job description?

Trashing your former employer or co-workers. A major red flag.

Your online image. Photos and posts say a lot about you and, yes, employers do look at them and make judgments before the interview.

Poor body language. Did you give a firm handshake? Did you appear confident, capable and enthusiastic during your interview? Did you make eye contact with the interviewer and remain composed?

Salary before service. Were you more interested in the size of your paycheck than in how you could help the company?

Poor manners. Did you send a written thank-you note to the interviewer and follow up in a timely manner?

Other reasons you may not be considered:

They think they can't afford you. Overcome this by saying that you are flexible within a certain salary range.

They think you're overqualified. Applying for a job below your former level of employment? Explain your situation and stress how your experience can help the business and your willingness to work at the lower level.

They think you're too old — but won't say so. Demonstrate how you've kept up-to-date in your field, learned new skills and can keep pace with younger workers.

Marie R. Stempinski is president and founder of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business development and career consulting. She can be reached at

Strategically Speaking: Are YOU the reason you haven't been hired? 03/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2014 6:57pm]
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