It’s by far one of the most frustrating aspects of job searching. After carefully customizing your resume and cover letter to exactly match the specific details of the job description, you send in your job application—and nothing. If you’re not hearing from employers, take heart in knowing that you’re not alone, dear job seekers.
There must be some sort of explanation as to why this happening, right? After all, your job skills, previous work experience, and overall knowledge make you a plum candidate for the position. The truth of the matter is that there’s probably a reason why your job applications are being met with silence. In fact, there are several reasons why this might be the case.
If you’re not hearing from employers about your applications, here’s why:
Companies are doing more screening.
When you click and send your job application in to a potential employer, it sets off a chain reaction. First, your application materials are screened by resume scanners for specific keywords that assess your qualifications and requirements. It’s imperative you use the keywords found in the job description on your resume.
Then, if the scanner deems your application acceptable, an actual human at the company will review your application to see if you are a suitable candidate—and then a slew of screening occurs, in the form of background checks. Not only is the information on your job application being verified, but potential employers are also checking you out online to see what else they can find out about you.
A whopping 70% of employers are screening candidates on social media. They’re reviewing your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page (to see what’s public and what’s not), your tweets on Twitter, what kinds of pics you like to post on Instagram and Pinterest, and so on. Anything slightly objectionable on any of your social media sites can cause you to not hear back from an employer.
There’s simply not enough time.
With a plethora of candidates applying for limited positions, recruiters might simply not have enough time to respond to each and every job seeker who applies for the position. In fact, on average, for every one job opening, an employer receives 118 applications and only 20% of applicants receive interviews.
Not only that, the hiring process itself has lengthened in recent years. According to Glassdoor, the process for hiring an employee went from 12.6 days in 2010 to 22.9 days in 2014, due to various factors. So even if all you want is a “thanks, but no thanks” email to verify that someone simply even read your job application, many hiring managers unfortunately don’t have enough time in the day to do that.
You’re not qualified.
By all accounts, you think that you’re more than qualified for the position. But when a potential employer reads your resume and cover letter, they may have a different opinion. For whatever reason it might be (e.g., you don’t have the necessary skills, you’re missing a particular certification required for the job, your cover letter had grammatical errors, etc.), you’re just not the right person for the position. But technically, a potential employer might not legally be able to tell you what’s wrong with your application (or you), so they doesn’t answer back.
It’s not a one-person decision.
Although you’re sending in your job application to one person, many people will review it before the decision is made to contact you for a job interview. And as your job application passes from one person to the next, it might be that Hiring Manager A loved your application, but Manager B hated it. Since a hiring manager can’t tell you that one of their colleagues didn’t like your application, they just won’t answer your calls or emails.
They don’t know you.
Sure, you wrote a personalized cover letter that had just the right mix of professional and personal anecdotes. Your social media accounts are primed for perusing by a potential employer. You would think that you’ve given your prospective boss a good enough glimpse into your personality. But still, hiring managers might view you as a garden-variety job candidate. To separate yourself from the average job seeker, take a look at your network. Do you have any mutual connections that could provide an introduction? What about any friends, family members, or neighbors that could introduce you to a connection or someone who works at the company? Although it isn’t required to have a referral to get a job, it can be helpful!
So, what should you do if you’re not hearing from employers?
Take the time to assess the situation. If only a few days have passed since you submitted your application, you’ll need to give it some more time. If it’s been over a week, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a follow-up email or phone call to ensure that your application was actually received. But if a month goes by and you still don’t hear back, you might want to consider changing your resume and cover letter, adjusting your social media presence, and focusing on your personal brand before applying for other positions.