Here are the 8 reasons most commonly given by human resource people for rejecting applicants.  And please note – none of these include your degree, your GPA or your IQ. By addressing these you can make yourself a top candidate without waiting and without getting any more student loans.

1. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM
You don’t have to be a Jimmy Kimmel or a Tigger, but you must express enthusiasm for a job if you don’t want to be weeded outTigger_happyimmediately. Enthusiasm, boldness, and confidence will often do more for you in an interview than another college degree.

2. LACK OF INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
When a candidate even hints at an inability to get along with others, it dramatically weakens that person’s chances in an interview. While this sounds obvious, it’s surprising how open some people are about their faults. Someone who interrupts frequently or who glances away during the interview will not be seen as a good team player.

3. WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
We know you want to know about the benefits, vacations, Friday massages and the company car, etc. but don’t lead with these questions! First, the employer will want to know what you can do for them. You can’t negotiate for more vacation time before you have been offered a job. Convince the employer that you are the right person for the job, be sure that you want to work there, then you can discuss pay and benefits.

4. UNCLEAR JOB GOALS
Don’t be a generalist. Be clear about the job you are seeking. This is the biggest flaw of job seekers that I’m seeing today.  If the interviewer gets the impression that you’re just looking for a job rather than a specific opportunity to use your skills, you will sabotage your chances.

5. POOR PERSONAL APPEARANCE
The key here is to fit in with the organization that you are contacting. I will defend your right to wear cutoffs and a baseball cap, but if you really want a job, you must dress appropriately. Many times I hear people who are irritated about not being given a job when they have a nose ring, bad breath, and unshined shoes. Keep in mind that organizations hire people, not credentials and experience. If they don’t like you, it doesn’t matter how great your experience is, you won’t get the job.

6. UNPREPARED FOR THE INTERVIEW
If you fumble when asked basic questions, you will appear unprepared and uncaring about the process. When asked, “Tell me a little about yourself” you should have a concise 2 minute answer: 15 seconds about your personal background, 1.5 minutes about your work experience, and 15 seconds about what you can do for this company. Your time spent in preparing for the interview will be time invested wisely.

7. NOT BEING CLEAR ON YOUR STRENGTHS
You should be able to state without hesitation, three characteristics that would make you a great candidate for any given job you are applying for. If you cannot clearly identify your strengths, no interviewer will convince you what they are.

8. NOT SELLING YOURSELF
Even if you would not enjoy selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, you have to realize that in the interview process, you are selling yourself. Especially in today’s market, you have to promote yourself. Follow up immediately with a thank you note and a telephone call three or four days later. It’s a good way to reinforce your interest in the job as well as ask a question or two you may have forgotten in the interview.

Today’s workplace is desperately seeking competent workers. Know how you are gifted, present yourself with confidence, follow up, and be ready to have multiple offers from which to choose!

For more tips, go to: Q&A with Dan