Not Getting Called in for Job Interviews? Avoid These 7 Pitfalls

Each time I post a job opening, I’m surprised by the number of mistakes made by so many of the applicants; 7 mistakes, to be precise, which can result in you not getting called in for job interviews. I want ALL of you employed! That’s the entire point of my company My Grads GET Jobs! So if you haven’t been called in lately, consider some possible reasons why:  

  1. Do you live in the city where the job is? 

  2. Was your resume 1 page and in PDF?

  3. Is you cover letter brief, compelling and customized for this particular job? 

  4. Do you have all of the skills the job requires?

  5. Did you put names of professors or specific course work that nobody outside your school would recognize?

  6. Are you really interested in being on camera talent and just applied because you need income? 

I can hear a few of you screaming at me right now! So let me address a few of your concerns:

“KP, I would move for the right opportunity in two seconds!”

While I believe you are telling me your truth, the jobs you are applying for will most likely be low paying (possibly minimum wage) and no company will pay a relocation fee for an entry-level position. If you haven’t lived in a particular city (let’s just say NYC or LA) you may hate it and want to leave in 3 months. A potential employer does not want to take that risk when there are so many other worthy, local candidates. It also delays your start date and most people want to fill the position ASAP.

“KP, I have so much experience, I can’t fit it on a one page resume!”

You will not believe this, but once I received a resume that was 8-pages long! The formatting was terrible and she put everything she had ever done including a lemonade stand in junior high and car wash fundraiser for cheerleading camp. She thought it showed initiative, but it only showed me that she didn’t know how to prioritize, edit, and communicate effectively. I’ve had 20-years of work experience and if I can sum it up in one page, so can you. Most companies require the resume to be in PDF, but I have seen a couple of companies who want it in a word doc. When in doubt, just PDF it.

“KP, What do I say in a cover letter? I was an executive producer at Trojan Vision, produced 4 short films, and I’m ready for a lot of responsibility!”

I’m delighted you have experience at your school’s TV station, but the truth is: I don’t really care about it or your course work. As a hiring manager, I’m more concerned with your real world experience, unless it directly applies to the position I’m looking to fill.

So, if you were a Starbucks barista, a server at IHOP, or a sales clerk at Norstroms during the holiday season, put that on your resume! You might not think it applies, but I promise, Hollywood people LOVE people who have worked in the service industry. Those skills are actually more desirable than the classes you took or the short films only your classmates and family have seen. They show you can deal with real customers, real demands, and real pressure.

You want to make sure your cover letter is short, yet compelling.  Address why your skill set fits with the needs of the job, when you are available to interview and drop some names if you can.  If you hear about it via my site, make sure you say you were my client or my student. Use a name when you have permission to do so and when it matters.  I can tell you, when you use my name, I always get the call.

“KP, I’m an actor, but my parents can’t support me, so I have to get an office job. I’ll just work there until a great part comes along. I need some kind of security.”

If you want to act, you have to get a paying job while you audition. I get that. I really do. That is why actors choose jobs with flexible schedules, like restaurant work, teaching fitness classes or social media management. No production company, agency, studio or network will hire you for a full-time assistant position if we see your real objective is to be in front of the camera. Truth be told, you wouldn’t want the job either. You need to be available for auditions and with a full-time job, you don’t have extra time.

7. “KP, I have so many questions, can I take you out for coffee and pick your brain?

As much as I’d love to meet you and appreciate your generous offer, I can’t take informational meetings out of fairness to my paying clients. However, if you need help, I’d encourage you to keep reading my emails and attend events like “Virtual Coffee with KP” when offered. It’s a great way to meet me and other people who are looking to work in entertainment and I answer your most pressing questions in the hour.