5 Things in Your Job Application You Cannot Control

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5 Things in Your Job Application You Cannot ControlHere are five things you cannot control, when it comes to getting a job:

(1) Ageism:

Yes, it's ugly. Yes, it's (technically) unlawful. And yes, sadly it exists.

Now, I will add -- it's not everywhere and it does not have to hold you back or dictate your future prospects. But it is a real force out there, and from time to time you might find yourself fighting against it.

(2) Timing:

You can get everything right -- i.e., reach out to the right person, with the perfect resume, and be the perfect person they're looking for. Yet, some HR rep might scan over your resume and throw it in the trash -- all because she had a fight with her boyfriend that morning and isn't paying attention. Or, you may be recognized as the perfect candidate, yet they just hired someone else that morning and the position is now closed.

(3) Nepotism, AKA corruption:

Sometimes it's a foregone conclusion. Everyone goes through the motions and plays along. They'll select the best candidates, and even interview them. But the job goes to the Chairman's nephew -- and was always going to.

This is rare.

But when it does happen, there's no way of telling from the outside, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

I'd love to see perfect integrity and transparency in the job market. But since we don't live in Cloud Cuckoo Land, we need to embrace reality for what it is.

(4) The hand you were dealt:

Whatever cards you were dealt, however unfairly you might have been treated, and however much you desperately wish you could go back in time and do things differently -- what's done is done.

You may have regrets in hindsight. We all do. But there's nothing you can do about that now. Whatever happened to you, the past is outside your control.

(5) Other people's behavior:

You cannot make recruiters or HR reps call you back. You cannot make a hiring manager choose you over the other candidates. You can't force them to see what they cannot see, however obvious it is to you. You cannot make past bosses or colleagues say nice things about you.

The only choices you can ever control are your own.


If you can't control any of these five things, why am I telling you about them?

Here's why:

Because I know you worry about them.

I know it makes you angry. It makes me angry too.

But being angry doesn't change anything. It just wastes our energy.

Energy is precious. We only have so much of it.

Save your energy for the things you can control.

From now on, I'm going to let go of my resentment for these things. I'm going to stop feeling angry about ageism, and rotten luck, and nepotism, and the regrettable way many of my clients have been treated by organizations they gave so much to, and the hand they've been dealt.

And I want you to let go too.

And if you know exactly what these people are looking for -- the signals they're turned into and seeking out -- you can create the right impression.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.