A lot of people think that the interview (and their killer interview questions) is the most terrifying part of their job search. I beg to differ – I think that the most nerve-wrecking part about the job search process is sending out your applications, and then having to sit back and wait for replies. Whenever I send out applications for job openings, I find myself unwittingly checking my email once every 3 hours, and I can’t seem to be able to wholeheartedly focus on anything else. Within 2-3 days, I find myself shooting out emails “checking back on the status of my applications”. [more…]
With unemployment looming – and especially after the long, arduous process of filling out online applications, resumes, beautifying portfolios, and networking furiously – one can hardly be faulted for pouncing on every career opportunity and holding on to it for dear life.
At the end of the day, in order to spare yourself the torture, it might be better to get to the root of the problem instead of biting your nails. You know what they say: Know your enemy and know yourself, and you can win a hundred battles. In this case, all you need to do is win one battle to find yourself gainfully employed. Here are the top 3 reasons why you never hear back after applying for a job – and what to do to salvage the situation:
1) Your application never reached the eyes of the hiring manager.
In 2012, The Wall Street Journal published a startling piece of statistic: Human eyes may never read as many as 25 out of a 100 job applications, because most resumes are missing the keywords that the recruiting software used by the companies scan and rank. Of course, if your resume does not even reach the eyes of the hiring manager, he or she will not even know you exist.
The simply remedy: Make sure that your resume has the right keywords that correspond with the job opening that you are applying for. At the same time, don’t get too trigger-happy with the keywords, or your resume will not appear readable or coherent even if it is read.
2) You were never qualified for the job opening to begin with.
Make no mistake – when a company puts up a job vacancy looking for a copywriter with 5-7 years of experience, and your resume shows that you have extensive experience in the area of web development, you can certainly be sure that you will not get called up. Many people do “try their luck” by attempting to market themselves as a jack-of-all-trades who can handle any job opening. Well, hiring managers are definitely not looking for someone who might be able to do the job eventually. They want results from the moment the employee steps in the door – and you don’t fill the bill.
Solution? Only apply for job vacancies that you qualify for. If you are looking to explore new areas, don’t bother applying for senior positions in that industry – aim for an internship or even junior positions.
3) Your online profiles were researched, and the hiring manager did not like what he/she saw.
Gone are the days where your social life was off-limits to your professional life. In fact, you can be sure that the hiring manager is going to browse through your collection of partying photos on Facebook and the ugly comments you made about your in-laws on Twitter. Now, that sure won’t make a good impression on you, nor help your chances for nailing that job opening – even if your resume is absolutely glowing.
To resolve such pesky online trouble, start an extensive spring-cleaning campaign on all your online profiles. Start by running a simple Google search on your name, and ensure that all the searches that relate to you look squeaky clean. Ensure that how you present yourself on your social networks is respectable. Don’t go overboard though – companies want employees with personality as well.
Related Article: 4 must-know features on LinkedIn
4) You waited… But never did follow-up.
After sending out a ton of applications, it’s easy to get utterly demoralized and not even bother to check back with the hiring manager with regards to your application status. Taking this step, however, shows him/her that you are serious and very interested in the job opening.
Keep it cool – follow up with a phone call or an email a week or two after to demonstrate your interest and check whether your materials have been received. Hiring managers are usually drowning in a flood of applications, so don’t give up hope so easily.
5) The hiring manager isn’t the only way into the company – you forgot the existing employees!
The corporate world is a world that values connections. If you have a contact in the company who can put in a good word for you, this would definitely magically accelerate your application to the top of the pile. If you don’t, find a way to make a connection – LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to use to see if any of your connections link to someone in the company you are interested in.
Once you’ve found that perfect connection, ask the person out (nicely) and treat him/her to a cup of coffee. Communicate your interest clearly, show that you are the right fit for the company, and you might find yourself on the express route in.
All in all, don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself if you don’t hear back from the company. There is always a positive action to take that might land you the job, or even a second chance at expressing your interest and showing your abilities. Do a diagnostic and figure out where it went wrong, and prepare yourself well for the next round.