In the best of times responding to a job listing can feel like sending your resume out to sea in a bottle. But at least you received a call or an email acknowledgement. Now, with the volume of applicants higher than ever, you’re more likely to hear nothing.
If there is a resounding silence from your queries, keep looking and networking. But you can also do some sleuthing to give you a better chance of standing out next time. Recruiters and career experts agree that, if you didn’t get an interview or phone call — or even a thank-you email — it may be due to at least one of six reasons.
You’re good, but someone else more closely met the qualifications. In a tight job market employers can usually get exactly the type of candidate they want. A polite “thanks, but no thanks” letter or email would be nice. But don’t expect it these days.
Companies receive so many submissions these days that they don’t even have time to send out letters or confirmation emails. “I know a major software company that’s taking more than three weeks just to send out acknowledgement notes, and some companies are spending months sifting through resumes for just one opening,” workplace etiquette expert Sue Fox tells Yahoo! Hot Jobs.
“Many job listings use the word ‘must,’ not ‘it would be nice to,’” according to Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet. “If it says you must have experience in X, then tailor your resume to show that,” Opton says.
If you’re answering a job listing, be sure you respond in exactly the way the company wants. And be aware that if you’re not applying for a specific job but rather sending out dozens or hundreds of form letters, your resume is likely to end up in companies’ spam folders.
Independent recruiter Cheryl Ferguson tells Yahoo! HotJobs that many job seekers are overqualified, under-qualified, or otherwise just wrong. “If we need to fill a specific job, and you’re not right for it, don’t assume that we’re going to find the right fit for you. A lot of times people send me resumes, and I want to ask, ‘Did you even read the job description?’”
“A lot of mistakes I see are a lack of cover letter, and an objective statement on the resume that is all wrong for the job opening,” says Lindsay Olson, partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing. “Even worse are obviously mass emails where the candidates had no clue what they were applying for.”
Sometimes, due to last minute budget cuts, a position is eliminated before it’s even filled. Other times, according to Olson, companies reel in resumes even when they know there isn’t any opening. “Some companies want a big applicant pool because they think they may be hiring in the future,” Olson said.
]If you feel like your resume is out at sea, and you’d at least like confirmation that you’re out of the running, there are things you can do.
Yes, the ad had a NO CALLS warning, and there wasn’t a name anyway. But if you’re pretty sure you’re right for the job, and you’ve heard nothing after a week, you can still call someone to find out if you’re at least in the running. Try to find the hiring manager (HR is too busy, and they almost never want to hear from you).
“If you do follow up by phone, don’t leave a voice mail,” Opton says. “Early in the morning or after five you’re more likely to reach a real person.”
“If you’ve had an interview and sent your thank-you letter, wait a week to call,” Fox says. One or two emails are OK, but three will probably look desperate, she adds. “And never, ever, show up at the company without an interview and demand to be seen. It will backfire.”
Did the resume you sent really fit the job requirements? Or were you hoping they would find another job just for you? “I love it when a candidate has done the homework and already knows the company and the position,” Ferguson says. “It makes it easier for both of us.”
Get a second opinion, and a third. Does it present you in the right light? Is it professionally formatted? Does it feature accomplishments, rather than merely job titles and dates?
“It’s always best to network your way into a position,” Opton says. “You’ll get a lot more individual attention than someone responding to a job listing.”
This article was posted recently on Yahoo’s HotJobs website. We have been hearing this for years that candidates simply want to be communicated with, but it often doesn’t happen. Our team at FGD knows the importance of communicating and you can expect to be kept in the loop throughout the entire process.
Are They Just Not That Into You?
by Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs