What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application? 

Have you ever sent resumes to some companies but none call you back? Or, did you hear radio silence after an interview? If yes, you are not alone. CareerBuilder survey found that a staggering 75 percent of job seekers said they did not hear back from a position they have applied for. The reasons for not getting a follow-up generally comes from employers or recruiters themselves and not the job seekers. Some of the reasons are as follows: 

  • Employer has lost job seeker’s job application
  • Human resources policy that does not allow company employees to respond to any inquiries from interview candidates. 
  • Lack of consideration to not notifying candidates, except for those employer’s interested most. 
  • Change in hiring plans, such as teams getting cut.

See also: Dos & Don’ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

Hearing bad news is a bummer but not getting a response at all, especially from an industry you expected, is worse. The good news is that there is something you can do about it: be proactive. All it takes to get the ball rolling again is a little push in the right direction. Here are some of the ways you should try: 

  • If possible, contact the recruiter or hiring managers and ask if they can give you a quick update regarding your application status. It will remind them that it has been a while since they’ve worked on their hiring responsibilities. 
  • If you apply through an applicant tracking system, check the system to see if your status has changed, for example from ‘submitted’ to ‘under review’. If it hasn’t changed, the problem lies in your resume, thus it is better to rewrite the resume and apply again when appropriate. 
  • If you have a contact inside the company, ask them to track down the hiring manager. See if they can get a status update for you. 
  • If the job was posted online, check the web site if the job is still listed. If it is not, the job opening might have been closed or they have already filled the position with somebody else. At this point, you should move on and start anew. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

Being a suitable job candidate for a specific position in a company requires more than a well-written CV. While having confidence could be one of the biggest advantages to being a candidate of choice, it might not be enough to secure a job offer. Job seekers must go beyond just well-written resumes by showcasing their personality.

See also: 4 Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You

According to Heckman et al., personality has been a scientifically-proven predictor of job performance and assessing a candidate’s behavioural tendencies in a work environment. This allows recruiters to determine whether a candidate will be a top performer and if he/she will fit the culture of the company. Recruiter Experts cited there are three more advantages for job seekers when showcasing their personality during an interview: 

1- Your personality is a success indicator 

Personality is the driving force behind how one thinks, feels, acts, adapts and works. The stories you share in a job interview regarding past experiences can be an indicator of how you will deal with adversity and opportunity. Potential employers want a glimpse into your future successes and failures. Often, the simplest indicator is your personality. 

2- Skills can be taught, personality cannot 

More and more companies are realising that skills and knowledge can be gained on the job. However, personality is hardwired. If you come to the table with a personality that matches with a company’s culture, other technical skills can be learned over time. 

3- Culture is king 

Your personality can indicate that you will build good culture in a company which will create a healthy place to work, not only for yourself but also for others. 

Using insights from personality assessments and your past experiences to really understand what an ideal environment looks like will lead you to the right career path. Remember, it needs to be a fit on both sides. There is no use in denying your personality. 

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators

Dos & Don'ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

If you, as a candidate, are enthusiastic during an interview, the chance of getting hired is higher. An interview session is a place where you can figure out whether the job and workplace culture is a fit for you. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask the questions you prepare beforehand to the interviewer.

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Here are the dos and don’ts that will help you get the most out of every question you ask: 

DO

  • Ask your most pressing questions first. These could be about the culture, goals of your future team or how performance will be evaluated.
  • Ask probing questions. Consider asking which personality traits are most common among the most successful employees, or what employees enjoy most about working there. 
  • Ask interviewers about their own career paths. For example, ask them how they decided to go into their field, or what steps they took within the company to attain their current position.
  • Ask about challenges. What will make this job difficult? What will you need to overcome?
  • Ask for their contact information and whether you can connect with them for further information.

DON’T

  • Don’t ask questions to sound smart. For example, interrupting the recruiter before he/she finishes their questions, just because you know the better option or better solution to the question asked. 
  • Don’t ask about something you could find online. This might make the recruiter think that you haven’t done your homework well. Remember that searching and researching information about the company before an interview is vital to your interview success. 
  • Don’t be unprofessional. You should limit yourself when asking questions even when the recruiter says that you can ask anything, NEVER ask about personal life, such as marital status, his/her personal salary, etc. 
  • Don’t push. If the hiring manager won’t answer your question, it’s best to leave it alone.

Read also: How to Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview

5 Types of People to Include in Your LIFE Circle

Networking has always been the top ingredient of success. In many cases, having a network will help in your job search, expand your knowledge, and improve your expertise. Yet, networking is not all about growing your list of contacts. You cannot just pick random individuals, ask their email or phone number and add them to your contact list, then contact them when you need help. More than that, networking is all about knowing someone at a deeper level that could help improve yourself as an individual.

With that in mind, it is essential to be selective when making new connections. Why? Because getting in a wrong networking circle could hamper your life. Meanwhile, getting yourself surrounded by the right individuals can give you a boost as you will get advice and feedback from a hand-picked group of strategic advisors who truly tip the scales in your favour. 

See also: 4 Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You

So, who should be in your circle? Here are five types of people to include. 

The advocate 

The advocate individuals know you on a personal level, acts as a trusted sounding board, and likely a close friend or family member. When you ask a question such as “how can my first few jobs line up with my personal values?” to your advocate circle, they can help you by giving true answers because they know your ins and outs. 

The strategic “In” 

The strategic “In” is more like a connection of the outside. They are well-connected individuals, demonstrate a willingness to make connections on your behalf, and likely alumni, past internship advisors, or your professors. When you ask your strategic “In” circle about a new job in X company, they will happily connect you with the current employees of C-suites. 

The subject matter expert 

As the name suggests, subject matter expert networks are those who can offer you superior insight on a specific industry, give you an unbiased opinion, likely an alumni contact, professors, or family members. This circle can widen your skills and knowledge about the outside worlds, especially the professional ones. In addition, they can give you advice on how to develop yourself and always push you to grow. Usually, these people are those who will make you uncomfortable in your comfort zone. 

The financial guru 

We know that money is one of the most powerful weapons in today’s industry and being financially illiterate can usher you to more difficulties, such as debt, loan, credit, etc. That is one of the reasons why many employees demand financial programs within their organisations. In this case, you should find one network who can be a financial guru. This network is usually those who live to observe stocks and might work around numbers daily. They can be anyone, like your family member, advocates, friends, or project buddy. 

The social butterfly 

Last but not least, the social butterfly individual is someone who can encourage you to connect with others. They are very person-centred and love being the centre of attention. Having one or two social butterflies around will help you get out of your comfort zone and can teach you how to network better. This is especially good for a very introverted or shy individual. 

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators 

Job Search Tips in Time of Crisis 

Hiring is slowing down but job seekers should continue searching 

Experts suggested that amidst the pandemic, job seekers should try their best because the job market will get fiercer. Industries who source for talents will hold the best and only those who remain competitive and consistent with their job search will get hired. 

Job seekers need to keep their job search active, moving forward with their job searching strategy. Experts said that job seekers should expand and nurture their network, focus on professional development, and refine their home schedule. These tricks will help candidates find topics during the interview or simply help market themselves in front of a recruiter. Recruiters want to hear an excellent story despite the lockdown, not some “lazy” work from home routine. 

See also: 4 Websites to Help You Create a Professional Resume 

Enrol for short-term jobs to get you creative 

Whether you are passively or actively looking for a job, enrolling a short-term or freelance job will make yourself more marketable. And who knows you’ll find your true niche during your job search? To start with, you can list your current top marketable skills and search for more opportunities to reveal hidden potentials. You can also start looking for telecommuting job opportunities and get creative about how you can leverage your skills virtually. 

Enhance your resume and LinkedIn profile 

LinkedIn has more than 600 million users in 2020 and many recruiters use this social networking to source new talent. So, don’t miss the chance and build-up your profile to attract recruiters. LinkedIn is also the best platform to connect with like-minded business people, helping you widen your professional network. 

On the other hand, you should redesign your resume to apply for a job online. Be all in and write everything necessary to get the recruiter’s attention. Keep in mind that your resume should pass both the ATS and recruiter’s manual screening. Based on a survey, a great resume should serve three critical goals: present a compelling career narrative, create visual balance, and illustrate a candidate’s value. 

Be prepared with a virtual interview 

Hiring during the pandemic might slow down but most industries are still doing the process of screening and online interviewing. The only change is that the in-person meeting will be put aside for now. Owing to such circumstances, it is advisable to prepare equipment and place for your virtual interview early on. Make sure you have the following requirements to create an effective virtual interview with prospective recruiters. 

  • Research the company and their niche, the job role, updated information regarding the role you are applying for, and prepare some questions to be asked to the interviewer. 
  • Prepare the equipment, such as a speaker, headsets, and cameras. Run a test on them and make sure that these tools are ready and able to work well. 
  • Get the interview schedule and interviewer’s name from the recruiter, if possible. Do your research on the interviewer so you can better know whom you are talking to. This will also help ease your interview anxiety because you already know their niche and how to approach them. 
  • Choose a clean, quiet, and well-lit space for the interview to reinforce that you are taking it seriously. 
  • Train yourself to focus on the camera when speaking, so it feels that you talk to the interviewer and not your screen. 
  • Speak louder during the interview. Raising your voice during a virtual interview conveys credibility and confidence, but make sure your voice is not echoing. 
  • Send a thank-you note after the interview along with some documents that you want to show to the employer to show how credible you are for the position. You can also request feedback to the interviewer. 

Read also: Working Well at Home during COVID-19 Pandemic 

Working Well at Home during COVID-19 Pandemic 

Working from home has become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this new normal is predicted to continue even after the pandemic ends, with 90 percent of employees wish to continue working from home in some capacity after the lockdown lifts. However, the survey found that despite the willingness to continue working from home, nearly half of the respondents report a fall in productivity while doing so. The reason for this lower productivity is equally split among practical aspects of remote work, such as family members, having to work longer hours, and inability to access resources that they would otherwise have in the office. 

As a matter of fact, albeit remote jobs give perks to employees to work anytime anywhere they wish, remote work might result negatively more to some employees. Not to mention, employees who are still new to remote working might find themselves experiencing a slightly different version of routine that might result in boredom, isolation, anxiety, thus affecting their productivity. 

See also: Difference between Remote Work and Telecommuting

For you who are still adapting to this telecommuting, it is good to breathe deeply and follow these tips so you can work happily and healthily at home. 

  1. Treat it like real office work 

As tempting as it might be to work all day in your pyjamas, it is not helpful in making you stay productive as this change behaviour might decrease your mood and ability to work. Sara Sutton, CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, found that some people find that dressing formally is helpful and provides them with a sense of motivation, while also proving useful if they need to dial into a sudden video call. Otherwise, you should treat your remote work as a real job, take a shower, get a comfortable dress, and sit on a working table and chair. 

  1. Have a comfortable place to work 

Remote working allows you to work from your bed or sofa. You can also choose a place around your house in which you are comfortable with. However, psychologists advised that you should find a space that is separate from where you relax. Try to create your own designated working area. Work in a separate room, if possible. You should also optimise your environment and keep your desk space and area as tidy as possible. Remember that your working position influences how you work and your body posture, helping you to avoid body pain and aches. 

  1. Have a work routine 

Routine offers comfort and can help reduce feelings of stress. Thus, adjust your routine before and during this pandemic. For example, if you routinely involve hitting the gym before work, try one of many online workouts to start your day. If you routinely prepare your kids before work, do prepare your kids for their day and remind them to only call you when an emergency occurs. You can create an emergency list for your children. 

In addition, try to maintain your normal working hours, starting and finishing at the same time and taking your regular lunch break. The more you stick to your routine, the better and easier you will pass your workday during the quarantine. 

  1. Communicate 

A little hello from someone can go a long way in this digital world. Greetings your coworkers via Face-Time, Skype, or video conferencing will give you a sense of belonging. Staying in touch is also important because it gives us strength, especially for those who are working or living alone. So, during the break, you should check up on your friends and see how they are doing. 

  1. Don’t forget to maintain your boredom 

Albeit all of those tips above are helpful to maintain your workday, you still cannot shoo away from the boredom of living away from friends or family. As a social creature, we need a physical connection to help us stay motivated during the day. Therefore, it is also vital for you to maintain your off-work activities. 

As an example, you can get outside on your lunch break and take a little walk, whether that is around the garden or around the block as long as it is in line with government’s advice. You can also try some activities or hobbies that will help you stay motivated and happy. 

Read also: 6 High Paying Jobs that Allow You to Work from Home

Improving Organisational Leadership Skills: Advice from Expert 

Leadership is an important function of management which helps maximise efficiency and achieve organisational goals. It is also one of the most sought after skills in recruitment besides flexibility and problem-solving, with companies spending nearly $167 billion on leadership development programs. Recruiters emphasise the importance of leadership skills in their job applicants. As a job seeker, if you want to showcase your credibility and stand out from the other candidates, you should boost your organisation leadership skills by mapping your skillsets against key personality traits and cognitive abilities that all effective leaders share. The traits include the following: 

Strong influencing behaviour 

Leadership is the ability to influence the behaviour of others, said Richard Petronio, Founder, President & CEO at Surcon International Inc. Leaders need to know how to influence and persuade their peers, both in pitching a new idea and trying to change a departments’ way of thinking. This will need good communication and other behavioural-based skills. That said, you are advised to train your way of communicating with others. Petronio said that effective leaders communicate with empathy. They strive to identify and understand their colleagues’ motivations and use that knowledge to make a change and build trust. 

See also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search? 

Emotional resilience 

In a world where quick changes are made, leaders need to bounce back from failures and disappointments and not labour on them, advised Petronio. That said, it is important for leaders to remain emotionally and mentally calm in order to tackle this fast-changing and competitive world. To have stronger emotional resilience, you should rebuild your self-efficiency, emphasise empathy, practice patience, create better self-capacity, and always perceive possibilities. 

Practicality 

While leaders need to have the emotional resilience to deal with problems, they must be able to separate fact from emotion when making a decision. Solutions based on practical evidence are valid information. To be a practical leader, you should focus on carrying out concrete actions that can help achieve organisational objectives with more or less immediate reinforcement. However, you need to also carefully assess where you are gathering evidence to avoid any inaccurate reporting or miscommunication that might lead to poor decision-making.  

Extroversion 

Petronio said that effective leaders need extroverted tendencies, meaning you cannot just stay holed up in your office or room, laser-focused solely on your work. You need to walk around, connect, and communicate with transparency, as well as collaborate with others. This, however, does not mean that introverted individuals cannot be a good leader. A study published at Semantic Scholar found that introverts and extroverts are equally effective as leaders in both academic and corporate environments. Yet, the characteristics of introverted leaders might depend on the context in which they lead, meaning introverted leaders should emphasise on learning and collaboration.

Self-control 

Effective leaders listen and focus not on what they should say, but on what it is being said. When spontaneous decisions are required, leaders need to fight their urge to react. Hence, managing your emotion is crucial here. 

Ability to solve problems 

In the 21st century, businesses compete with more companies and make faster, creative and meaningful decisions in order to not lose from business rivals. As a leader, you are responsible for winning this competition – because if you don’t make a change, your competitors will. Successful leaders are comfortable in assessing situations and thinking holistically about organisation, as well as the long-term impact of their decision-making. 

Competency-based traits 

Apart from solving problems and being a good listener, leaders are also expected to be an expert in their field, meaning leaders should have additional competency-based skills when managing teams. This skill varies depending on job title and position’s level in an organisation. As an example, if you are working in the business development sector, your competency-based skills should cover all that is needed to achieve good and successful results in your department. 

Read also: Key Skills Needed to Survive the 21st Century 

What Job Seekers Need to Know about ATS

Nearly every Fortune 500 company and a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses filter resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS) which will be tricky for job seekers when submitting their resumes.  

What is ATS? 

Applicant tracking system is a software widely used by companies today to keep their hiring track right as it allows an employer to collect and sort thousands of resumes. 

Why do employers use ATS? 

Back in 2008, the Great Recession hit the United States, forcing companies to conduct massive layoffs. When the situation got better, people started looking for a new job that employers were flooded with job applications. The problem was, employers found that nearly 90 percent of those applying were unqualified for the job, making it difficult for employers to sort and get the best and most qualified ones. This is where the idea of ATS created. ATS was first created for employers who demanded features that could discourage and filter out unqualified candidates in no time.

See also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

Applicant tracking systems then gradually come into play to help recruiters do their job right. ATS would help keep all these resumes in one place, help recruiters and employers stay organised during the recruiting process. ATS also helps employers save time by automatically surfacing and highlighting top candidates. As of today, ATS becomes a necessity for both big and small firms because it could streamline, widen recruiter’s talent pools, and save time to sort massive candidates. 

Does ATS have its drawback? 

Nothing is perfect, so is ATS. Albeit an applicant tracking system could help ease the job during the recruiting process, it has one drawback. According to a Swoop Talent survey, ATS does help hire professionals to narrow their applicant pool, but top candidates often slip through the cracks. This happens because candidates do not know the right standard resume writing for ATS, thus, they applied through a system that has less-than-optionally parsing or data management. 

How does ATS work? 

Generally, different ATS providers would operate a different system. Yet, they have similarities to collect and store resumes in a database for hiring professionals to access. In addition, resumes that are in the system might be stored long in the system before it is sorted and read by real recruiters. Then, recruiters or hiring managers would search and sort through the resumes in a number of ways, depending on the system they are using. The following is the elucidation of each ATS system. 

Automatic rankings 

Some applicant tracking systems use automatic comparison from job description to resume applicant. Based on Jobscan review, one of the best ATS that uses this system is Taleo. Taleo will rank each applicant based on how well their resume scores are based on the job description. This would surely help the recruiter focus on candidates with the best job description match. 

Keyword rankings 

Keyword rankings are very common in almost all ATS systems. As an example, if a recruiter is hiring for a General Manager Assistant, the ATS will then search and sort for “ General Manager Assistant” out of hundreds of resumes in the database. Hence, this system will save candidates who have done the exact job before and anyone that does not would only be kept in the system. 

Viewing application

Last but not least, some recruiters or hiring managers would take a glance over their ATS database to get real results. This, however, is only done by a few small- and medium-sized businesses. Commonly, recruiters would take a glance over a candidate’s past highlights, job titles, and past companies. With this quick scan, recruiters could determine whether they want to learn your resume more or not. Thus, it is important to make sure your top skills and qualifications are easily identifiable, not only for the ATS but also for the recruiter’s eyes.  

Now as you are already armed and know what and how ATS works, it will be easier for you to write better resumes for ATS. If you need more guidance, read here for more tips on how to beat ATS system and get your resume into human hands

Read also: Job Fair & Online Job Search Tips for Students and Graduates 

Who Should be Your Professional Reference? 

Bad hires can cost a company a fortune. That’s why recruiters are being more careful when it comes to bringing in new talents to the team. In their approach to hire the most suitable candidates, recruiters will conduct background check and screening by asking a professional reference to potential candidates.

What is a professional reference? 

Professional reference, also referred to as a job reference, is someone who could provide an insight into your earlier working experiences. As fresh grads or students who are currently looking for a job, their professional reference can be lecturer, teacher, or professor. For those who have working experiences, professional reference can be former colleagues and/or supervisors who can attest to one’s skills and qualifications. 

See also: Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Why does an employer want a professional reference? 

When an employer sees you as a prospective hire, more often than not, they will ask for you to provide one or two job references in order to reaffirm all information you put on your resume or say during an interview regarding your skills, experiences, and suitability for the position you applied. 

Job reference also helps employers confirm that candidates are honest in their job applications and interview responses. Besides, references are also vital opportunities for employers to get a sense of candidates’ performance on the job and personal qualities. 

Who should you ask to be your job reference? 

For fresh job seekers a.k.a graduates with no working experience, finding the right job reference can be tricky. As graduates, however, it is likely that you are applying for an entry-level position, so recruiters will understand that you might not be able to provide professional references. Recruiter might as well not consider your lack of professional reference as a problem. 

Nevertheless, you might still need to provide job references in case your recruiter will ask you for that, advised Jessica Hernandez, the president and CEO of Great Resume Fast. In many cases, college grads will have their supervisors from internships or work-study jobs as a reference. Even if your past internship does not really align with your current job application, former supervisors could still provide insights into your character, dedication, and overall attitude. 

So what if you are a fresh grad who has no job experience, even an internship? In this case, Hernandez advised that you should turn to your professors, coaches, or any authority figure who has knowledge of how you work hard, grow, and deal with people. Parents or relatives are not great choices here, added Hernandez, because they might give biased answers to recruiters. 

Who is the most effective job reference? 

To provide the best professional reference, you should consider these points. These considerations will help you choose the most effective reference you can ever have. 

  • Do you have the list of who your job references are? 
  • If yes, choose the most recent person you work with/collaborate with. If you have graduated from university 2 years ago and ask for your professor reference, it is likely that your professor could not give updated information about you. 
  • If no, you might want to consider a colleague you are collaborating with, be it a volunteer colleague, project partner, or stranger you’ve been working with for some time. 
  • Consider their relevance to your job and/or their position/seniority. For example, if you are applying for a junior accountant and you have two reference choices who would be able to provide high praise. Refer to one who either has knowledge of an accountant or who is the most senior.
  • Lastly, ask your reference politely and tell them that you have included them in your resume/job search. To deliver your intention, it is always better via face-to-face communication. However, if you think your reference is a highly busy person, sending a chat or email first could be the best move. Always cite your intention earlier to avoid misunderstanding. 

Read also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview 

Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Wake up, have breakfast, open a laptop, find a job in an online job platform, click apply, eat lunch, go out, go home, maybe open social media for a while, sleep, REPEAT. You don’t even bother to rewrite your job resume for a different job application and, probably, you use a simple bullet writing technique in your resume. If this sounds pretty much like you, please stop. Why? Because employers are not willing to hire such sluggish, effortless job seekers. 

Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, said in an interview that the least a job seeker can do is to stop being “boring”. She explained that recruiters are often bored because people play safe. They (job seekers) commodify themselves into just a bullet-point list of skills and experience. This might look neat but it is one of the most boring things to read. 

See also: Most Important Networking Tips for Jobseekers

Here are other reasons why you can be a boring job applicant. You better avoid it! 

You do nothing besides job search 

It is understandable that you want to get a job as soon as possible, but sitting in front of your computer or smartphone all day searching for a job is a big no-no. Why? During an interview, you are going to be asked about your experience. While you can demonstrate that you are active leaders during your university, what will you answer when a recruiter asks, “What do you do in the meantime of your job search”? 

Therefore, go out. Talk to real people. Expand your circle and connection. Having meaningful activities during a job search can help you have an interesting discussion during your interview session which might catch recruiter’s attention and intention of hiring you. 

You focus too much on writing a boring resume

Crafting an interesting resume is important, especially if you know that the company you are applying to uses Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Resume with the right format and keywords will do the job. However, your resume can only contain your work experience, education, skills, or achievements – which tells so little about you, as a person. 

In this case, Lannert advised you to focus on the cover letter and not resume. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing someone who takes a chance to be incredibly human in cover letter or an outreach, to put themselves forward, she added. This will definitely catch recruiter’s attention as companies today need more empathetic and down-to-earth people. 

Tips: Use your own language. Use words that are not stiff or business jargon-y, especially words you usually find in the google site template. 

You do not go the extra mile 

Your cover letter and resume are top-notch so you are offered a job interview. You prepare for the interview and write some questions you want to ask a recruiter. However, during the interview, you are too focused on “selling” and “telling”. 

Telling and selling your skills are good, but showing them is extraordinary. Seeing your effort in preparing a presentation of how valuable your skills are or how great your ideas will improve the company’s business will be more appreciated. Besides, people are more convinced when you show them, instead of just telling them. 

Read also: 15 Minutes Before Interview : Absolutely Important For Job seekers!