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Why Your Job Applications Are Getting Ignored

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Rejection is unfortunately an unavoidable part of any job search. With many companies always looking for different qualities, it is simply not possible for you to be the ideal candidate for everyone. Therefore, it is just natural for you to get rejected or more commonly, hear the radio silence every now and then.

However, if you have sent out over 10 applications and have not heard even a single response back, it might be time for you to stop taking this as a series of flukes and start looking at it as a pattern. It is highly likely that there is a reason behind you not hearing back at all. So, what’s the good news? There is a high chance that it is in your power to entirely fix whatever’s wrong.  In this blog post, we will be looking at the most common reasons for you to not hear back from hiring managers and recruiters, and also discuss ways for you to pivot yourself to a winning strategy.

You’re Not Giving a Thought to Where You Are Applying

Most people, when doing their first-ever job searches, use the ‘spray-and-pray’ strategy in which they apply to just about every position out there, hoping to be considered. While most people quickly learn that this is a failed strategy, some just never grow out of it. Perhaps, they were lucky enough to land a job like this in the past and are now just too persistent on crediting their success to it. However, this game plan is destined to burn you sooner rather than later and you need to really look at revising your approach.

Individuals have a habit of sending out their resumes indiscriminately and they are just programmed to believe that in this case, more is always better. The hard truth is that if the fit is imperfect, there is a high chance that the resume will be ignored, irrespective of how many are sent. Unfortunately, despite how faulty it was from the start, it will make you feel like you were rejected from an opportunity where you genuinely had a chance.

Sure, you can get excited about a job opportunity and you might even start daydreaming about how it would be like to work for a company. But that is not a reason to believe that you are good enough for a job – especially if you do not have the relevant experience and skills needed to be a successful candidate. If you are not meeting the minimum qualifications required for the role, your resume will probably automatically be screened out of the pool. You will not necessarily have to meet every single qualification listed on the job description, however, you will have to demonstrate that you are a decent fit for the role.

The fix for this is very easy: you just need to review the job descriptions carefully and never apply if you have a feeling that you are not quite there yet. On the flipside, you can also be not fit for a role because you are overqualified. If your experience is far exceeding the job requirements, it is possible for your resume to be pushed to the side, simply because the hiring managers believe they cannot afford to hire you.  If this is the case, you have two options – you either look for positions that require skills and experience equal to or even slightly above what you have or make sure you highlight only the relevant parts of your experience and skills for the specific job if you are applying for a junior role.

Your Resume is in Need of an Overhaul

While it is possible for your application to have slipped through the cracks or the recruiter was just not good enough to recognise a good resume, the odds of that happening again and again are very slim. So, when you are hearing rejections constantly, it is time to have a good look at the resume that you are sending out. There can be many reasons for your resume to not be up to par. One very common reason is when you are just not using the right keywords in your resume.

Resumes are usually scanned these days for any phrases and keywords to demonstrate a perfect fit. If your resume is too generic in its content and is just trying to cover as many areas as possible, it will be lacking in any precision that is vital to demonstrating passion and qualifications. In order to be able to prove that you are a string contender, you will need to highlight the key experiences that you have had that also match the description of the role you are applying for. You will also need to make sure that your strategically use industry-specific keywords in your cover letter and resume. Be sure to always tailor this section for each and every position you apply to.

Other ‘criminal’ resume mistakes that you could be making include typos, exaggerating, having unexplained resume gaps, failing to mention the impact of your actions, etc. If you fear making such errors, you should try to share your resume with others in your circle, especially any HR professionals, career coaches, recruiters or resume writers you feel comfortable contacting – and incorporate the feedback they give.

Your Networking Game is Weak

We all know the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  While this might be a bit misleading as I do believe experience and skills matter a lot, it is true that having referrals can help you significantly in getting your foot in the door.

It is no wonder that resumes floating the top of the pile are usually the ones that have some very warm connections in the form of a trusted colleague giving a referral. For highly competitive roles, it is possible to have thousands of applicants and most of them sounding exactly like you on an application. Therefore, for you to stand out, you will need to ask your network of colleagues, friends and family if they know anyone at the company you are applying to. If they do, you should always ask if they would be willing to refer you. However, there is nothing to worry about if you don’t know anyone at the company.

While applying online is good, it should always be backed by a good follow up, reaching out directly to the hiring manager and/or any other contacts within the company. Taking out time to do something extra will always ensure you getting noticed. A more subtle, but equally powerful way to network your way into a job opening is to ask for an informational interview with someone working at the company.

In case the informational interview goes well, you can always tactfully mention that you have submitted an application to the company and ask them if they have any recommendations for you to improve your chances of getting hired. Having someone already working at the company give you great insight can dramatically increase your chances of getting a call from the recruiter.

Apart from these activities, you should focus on building your LinkedIn network or any other social networking tool or forum of choice. The goal here is to establish any key contacts that are working at desirable companies. You should embrace the company by reaching out to a variety of points of contact. This is how you will be able to hear of any openings and potential opportunities, some that may never even reach the posting stage. These folks are also going to serve as your advocates as lots of companies these days offer incentives to their employees for introducing strong candidates who ultimately get hired.

The Company Just Decided Otherwise

As mentioned earlier, getting rejections again and again is usually a sign that you are not doing something right. However, if it is just a few companies you are not hearing back from, it is possible that there are other things occurring behind the scenes that you have no access to.

Companies have a habit of sometimes not filling a role in the way we might be picturing as job seekers. Some even have an internal candidate already selected but just post the position anyway. In such cases, it can be a standard company policy to keep the position open for a specific period of time, just to keep their options open, if the internal contender declines to job change.

It is also possible for companies to put a position on hold because of any budgetary constraints or change in reporting structures. These details are rarely communicated to job seekers. Still, it is also possible that they are just slow in processing applications or are too occupied with filling a number of positions and their hands are too full.

The important thing is for you to never give up hope. If you know that you are doing everything right, you should keep applying and eventually you will start to receive positive responses.

Share your experience with job applications with our readers in the comment section below. If you are struggling to get a job, you should definitely have a look at these 4 options.

 
This post is part 1 of 18 in the series Coping with Defeat

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Nouman is a Staff Writer on SimonStapleton.com

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