Job Seekers: Are your applications getting you nowhere?
By Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs
In the best of times responding to a job listing can feel like sending your résumé 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.
1. They're just not that into you.
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.
2. They may be into you, as soon as they get to you.
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 résumé s for just one opening," workplace etiquette expert Sue Fox tells Yahoo! Hot Jobs.
3. They would have been into you if you had followed directions.
"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 résumé 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 résumé is likely to end up in companies' spam folders.
4. They might be into you if you apply for a more appropriate job.
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 résumés and I want to ask, 'Did you even read the job description?'"
5. Your presentation could use some work.
"A lot of mistakes I see are a lack of cover letter, and an objective statement on the résumé that is all wrong for the job opening," says Lindsay Olson, partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing. "Even worse are the obviously mass emails where the candidates had no clue what they were applying for."
6. There isn't any job.
Sometimes, due to last minute budget cuts, a position is eliminated before its even filled.
Other times, according to Olson, companies reel in résumés 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.
How can you learn what happened?
If you feel like your résumé is out at sea, and you'd at least like confirmation that you're out of the running, contact the company.
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."
For more assistance in developing your job search strategies and interviewing skills, we encourage you to contact the Career Development Center at 360-867-6193 to schedule an appointment with one of our Career Advisors.