Job seekers across the country cry out in frustration, “Why don’t I hear back from employers?!” It is a reasonable question, especially if you’ve applied to more jobs than you can count. But before you wage a war against hiring managers, let me remind you just how competitive the job market has become: A job posting that once fetched a mere 20 applications, can bring in more than 100 times that number in today’s economy.
Hiring managers are often overwhelmed by the attention a single vacancy garners. That realization does not, in any way, excuse their bad behavior, specifically, their failure to respond to your submission. As a job seeker, you simply want to know where you stand in the process and whether the company is interested in moving forward with your application. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always deliver what we want.
While more employers are considering how their failure to communicate more honestly with job seekers may impact their reputation overall, there is no guarantee you will hear back from a company after you’ve completed their application process. Oh, the agony of getting nothing but cricket chirps after submitting (what you consider to be) an amazing cover letter and an equally impressive resume. To ease the suffering, I offer you four reasons why you don’t hear back from employers and what you can do to increase your odds of getting the response you want.
1. Your cover letter isn’t interesting or compelling enough. Why do you want this job? Make your case through a well-crafted cover letter that gives the hiring manager a sense of your passion, qualifications, achievements and personality. (I will cover this further in an upcoming post.) It is very important that you understand how to effectively communicate your interest in a position. A cover letter offers you a platform to speak directly to the person who can hire you. It provides an opportunity to clearly and succinctly express your enthusiasm, value and experience without any interruptions. This is your time to speak up and stand out from the competition. Your cover letter should convey a healthy mix of confidence, competence and courtesy to ensure you grab the hiring manager’s attention.
2. Your resume doesn’t include enough keywords. Resume software can either be your friend in this digital age or the bane of your virtual existence. When you apply for jobs online, it is safe to assume your submission will be
consumed reviewed by an automated system that will ultimately determine whether your application is forwarded to a hiring manager or banished to the black hole. Luckily, these machines aren’t smarter than you. To beat technology at its own game, be sure your resume and your responses to screening questions include keywords from the job posting you are responding to. If the job description indicates that candidates should have strong customer service skills, guess what? Your resume should include the words “strong customer service skills.” You want to sell your unique experience based on what the company (and its screening machine) seeks in a prospective employee.
3. Your social media profile contains potentially offensive language or photos. Did you forget 92 percent of U.S. companies are using social media in their recruiting strategy? This means employers are checking you out from all angles, and social media can reveal some very telling information about your personality, opinions, beliefs, hobbies and work ethic. Maybe your friends think the photo of you chugging beer is particularly funny, but a potential employer may not find it amusing at all. There is nothing wrong with celebrating life and who you are through your social media pages, but some pictures are private and should not be available for the public to see. Also, personal rants should take place behind closed doors with people you know and trust–not on Twitter. A social media page containing profanity and lewd comments can ruin your chances of being contacted for a job. To be on the safe side, create a professional profile that highlights how you would be a great addition to the company.
4. Your email address is unprofessional. Professionalism is required across all forms of communication, not just on your social media pages or during in-person meetings, such as interviews. If your email address includes adjectives or pet names, you should create a new account exclusively for your job hunt. Sexybabe101@email.com or JerseyFlyGuy007@email.com might make sense for an online dating profile, but your first and last name seem like the best bet for a polished email address: James.Greene@email.com. If you want to be taken seriously by employers, then take your job search seriously by avoiding amateur mistakes. It is your responsibility to present yourself as someone a reputable company would like to hire.
Come back next week for part II of Why You Don’t Hear Back from Employers. Hint: The next four reasons are not your fault.
Voice Your View: Do you think less of a company if they don’t respond to your application? How important is it for employers to let you know where you are in the process? Share your experiences in our comments section.