School of Business and Leadership Blog
Top 6 Reasons You Never Hear Back after Applying for a Job
Be sure to “RAC”(“Read, Absorb, Copy”) it!
Intern Coordinator Business Department Nyack College
Top 6 Reasons You Never Hear Back After Applying For A Job
Posted Aug 2nd 2012 By Meghan M. Biro
People often wonder why they never hear anything back after they hit "send" on the email with a resume attached or on the online job application. If you're very lucky, you might have a preliminary email exchange with a recruiter and then never hear from them again. It's a depressing experience, and one which also casts a shadow on the hiring company's reputation. So why does it happen? Is it you, is it them, or is it just something every candidate must prepare for in the hiring process? There's no question that job seekers face an uphill climb. High unemployment nationally means more competition for every position; according to a January 2012 article in The Wall Street Journal, Starbucks "attracted 7.6 million job applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 corporate and retail job openings."
An oft-cited recruiter's complaint is that as many as 50 percent of people applying for a given job simply aren't qualified. Adding to the challenge, most large companies -- and many smaller ones -- use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50 percent of applicants before a human even looks at a resume or cover letter. The deck is definitely stacked against the job seeker. So how do you break through?
Here are my top reasons you're not hearing back after applying for a job, with five suggestions for ways to avoid the Resume Black Hole.
Why You Never Hear Back:
1. You really aren't qualified.
If a job description specifies a software developer with three to five years of experience and you're a recent graduate with one internship, it's unlikely you'll get a call. Avoid disappointment -- don't apply for jobs for which you lack qualifications. Most job descriptions are written with very specific requirements. Yes, the company is trying to find the most qualified candidate; yes, they are trying to weed people out. It's not personal, it's business.
2. You haven't keyword-optimized your resume or application.
Job descriptions are salted with keywords specific to the skills or attributes the company seeks in applicants. A close read of the job description is a necessity, as is keyword-optimizing your resume and cover letter, if you're using one, or email. If the job description lists words in a certain order, e.g. a list of programming languages required, use the same order in your resume.
3. Your resume isn't formatted properly.
You might think distinctive formatting will set your resume apart, but automated programs don't care if a document is pretty. Help a machine out. Be consistent in formatting -- consider using separate lines for former employer, job title, and years worked.
4. Your resume is substantially different from your online profile.
LinkedIn, Dice and other online profile sites can be useful tools, so it's important to make sure they match what's on your resume. This may seem to be a contradiction -- in No.1, I advised keyword optimization -- but it's really common sense. Jobs worked, employers, years on the job and other details should match. The subtext here is always tell the truth.
5. The company received 500 resumes for one job posting, and yours was 499th in.
Looking for a job is a job. Do your research -- know which companies you want to work for, organizations where you sense a culture fit. Every morning scour the job postings and jump on anything for which you're qualified (and in which you're interested.) Being early with your resume or application does matter. Check back often in the first few days to make sure the listing hasn't changed. Often a company will post a job and halfway through the process change the description.
6. It's hard to game the system.
Your best bet is still a personal referral, and even that may not be enough to get a call. A guy I know gave his resume to a woman who worked at a company where a good job had been posted. He received an automated email noting his resume had been received but never heard another word. After a month he asked his friend to check with the recruiter. It turned out the job description had changed, but the recruiter never bothered to let the referring employee -- or the applicant -- know. This isn't unusual, unfortunately. So what can you do?
How You Can Get Noticed:
1. Research interesting companies on social media.
Find out who the recruiters are and follow them. Many will tweet new postings, so watch their streams and jump on anything for which you are qualified. And if they tweet news saying the company's had a great quarter, retweet the news with a positive comment.
2. Consider starting a blog in your area of interest or expertise.
It's a social world; time to build a trail of breadcrumbs leading to you. Include the blog, and links to any especially relevant posts, in your emails to recruiters with whom you're working.
3. Get professional help with your resume.
Either a resume writer or an SEO expert can help you increase your odds of getting through the talent management software. If you can't afford this step, read the top career blogs for advice.
4. If at all possible, don't wait until you're out of work to find your next job.
I realize for many people this isn't possible or might even be offensive, but your chances of finding the next job are best when you're still employed.
Old advice, but still true. Be visible, be upbeat, be informed about industry trends and news in your area of expertise.
Finding a job is tough, no question. I've talked to other recruiters who say they only respond to 30 percent of applicants. The odds are good you'll be in the 60+ percent who hears nothing a lot of the time. Don't take it personally -- it's not a rejection of you, it's a reflection of the times. If you don't hear back, know you're not alone.
"Bud's Bits" - Interviews and the Social Network
INTERVIEWS AND SOCIAL NETWORK
Social Network Hints-Suggestions
Keep a good and positive Professional profile on any of your “sites”, because----.
You’re no longer Anonymous!I
An important way for you to make a fine Interview impression is to be certain that your Social
Networking contacts are in A-1 shape—and clear of any potentially embarrassing , immature
comments or attitudes. They could be the determinant as to whether --- OR NOT----you’re
Potential employers can easily view your comments on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. Their
company’s Human Research Department is often assigned the duty of discretely “checking you
Keep your I-phone out of sight during your Interview visit! You may think that continually
looking at your I-phone is “cool--today’s way” (but how important is it that your friends need
to know that you’re about to “bag” the Interview in 15 minutes??). Very often, conservative
employers see the continued “I-Phone peeking” candidate as being self-centered, self-absorbed
and indicative of a lack of social skills. They often refer to the I-Phone centered and absorbed
college generation as the “it’s all about me-me-me” kids!
Should you be asked about your expertise in the Social Network or computer field, then by all
means let them be aware of your knowledge,---but DON’T try to overwhelm them with your
supposed massive knowledge--unless you’re Interviewing at a strong Information Technology
And—don’t be a “Windbag”—keep your answers to fewer than 148 words!
Internship Advice: From a Professional Career Counselor
From a Professional Career Counselor: Why 'Selling Yourself' To An Employer Is A Misguided Notion
By Marty Nemko
I've raised questions about these career truths: “Do What You Love" and “Network, Network, Network”.
Another common career belief I too unquestioningly used to accept is that job seekers must sell themselves. After all, that's the American way -- sell, sell, sell.
At trainings and conferences for career counselors, we were taught ever more powerful tools to help our clients sell themselves: PAR stories, micro-analyzed mock video interviews, perfect canned answers to the toughest interview questions. And we were reassured that it was ethically defensible to write clients' resumes and cover letters, even without those documents disclosing that.
Of course, it's understandable that especially in a tough job market, job seekers, especially weak ones, want to buy all the help they can afford. But after a while, I started feeling oily. I especially felt uncomfortable writing or even heavily editing clients' resumes and cover letters. For most professional jobs, employers use those resume’s and cover letters not just to screen work history but to assess candidates writing, reasoning, organizational skill and detail-oriented-ness. So when I wrote a clients' resume or cover letter, I've misled the employer: S/he decides whether to interview my client on my abilities, not the client's. Was that fair to people who chose to do their own work, perhaps with modest input from a colleague? How would you feel if you did your own work perhaps with a bit of help and lost out to an inferior candidate who paid someone to write their resume and cover letter and to transform him or her into the dream interviewee? Was I putting a false veneer on less qualified applicants thereby hurting more-qualified applicants' chances? Indeed, I often was. On average, it's weaker candidates who -- to try to become competitive -- hire a packager.
Was I being any more ethical than if I were paid to write someone else's college application essay? If paying a hired gun to write someone else's resume were ethical, why don't professional resume writers write, "Written by Jane Jones, professional resume writer?" And even if they did, I'd bet that most applicants would delete that disclosure before submitting their resume. If it were ethical, they wouldn't.
I thought further: If I added value to my clients in writing their resume and cover letter, it means they got an interview when they otherwise wouldn't. Isn't that like putting a jet pack on my clients for the first part of the job-search race? Is that fair?
And let's say I coached that not-top-of-the-stack client to ace the interview and he or she got the job. Had my efforts resulted in saddling the employer and co-workers with a worse employee?
And more broadly, if inferior candidates are hired, the organization's services and products are more likely to be worse, and in turn, for society to be worse. I had become a career counselor to make things better.
Was I fooling myself? Was I making things worse?!
So I've come to question the wisdom of "sell, sell, sell." There's nothing wrong, indeed everything right, about helping someone find a well-suited career. There's everything right about helping someone on the job to be more successful and satisfied. But I have concluded that there is something wrong with helping job applicants look better than they are, and the weaker the applicant, the more that's wrong.
So might you want to think twice when deciding how much help to get in applying for a job? Sure, read articles on writing a resume’ and cover letter and on how to prepare for an interview. It's probably also ethically defensible to also have a colleague offer modest to moderate feedback on your résumé, cover letter, and mock interview. True, limiting help to that may put you at a disadvantage compared with candidates who get someone else to do their work for them, but shouldn't integrity trump expediency?
So what do I say to clients who want me to help them land a job? I do turn away prospective clients I sense would be weak employees in the job they seek but, more often, I simply try to help them realize that "selling themselves" is not the right metaphor.
You may be able to sell yourself into a job, but if it's the wrong job, you'll likely do poorly and perhaps get fired or laid off -- no fun -- and you'll be back to see me. And you won't feel good about yourself.
The right metaphor for job-seeking is not selling, it's matchmaking: Reveal your strengths and your weaknesses and the wrong employers will reject you and a right one will hire you. For example, one of my weaknesses is that I'm a poor team player. If I were applying for a job, I'd mention that while I'm capable of doing difficult projects on my own, I do poorly on a team. I tend to get frustrated when I don't have enough control. That would get me rejected from the wrong jobs and accepted for a right one.
So might you want to think of job-seeking not as selling but matchmaking?
Student Internship Blog
From: An Anonymous student
West Coast. U.S.A.
People seem to be ignoring the fact that good interns get offered jobs. I have a full-time job lined up and just like all the other new hires, was an intern last summer. I probably wouldn't even have gotten an interview if it wasn't for my *unpaid* experience in the same field prior to that. That's why there's so much of an emphasis on getting internships these days. This isn't a job market where you can whimsically apply to places and expect to be hired. You need to prove, among many other things, that you want to be in the industry, know what you're doing, and are qualified. Nothing speaks to that more than actual work experience.
- Top 6 Reasons You Never Hear Back after Applying for a Job
- "Bud's Bits" - Interviews and the Social Network
- Internship Advice: From a Professional Career Counselor
- Student Internship Blog
- 2013 SBL Hooding Ceremony
- "Bud's Bits" - Cover Letters & Resumes
- Student Internship Blog - Christopher Lynch
- "Bud's Bits" - Confidence
- "Bud's Bits" - Prepare
- Congratulations Professor Gordon Boronow!
- "Bud's Bits" - Interview Hints
- Faculty Internship Blog: Dr. Gerard Becker
- Student Internship Blog - Emily Wellman
- Student Internship Blog - Jenny Schaller
- Student Internship Blog - Susanna Bicknell 2
- Browse Blog Archive>>