We have all been there. Waiting and waiting...and some more waiting.
Waiting for the phone to ring or the little email chime from a potential employer. In some cases we wait so long that we give up on the job search altogether, attributing the lack of communication to being unqualified or not the right fit for the job. We're here to tell you that might appear to be the case.
Before you freak out and start reconsidering your self-worth and all your contributions to this cruel world, let me clarify. A large part of the job searching and interview process involves perceptions of who you are as a work and if you are the right fit.
In my experience with recruiting candidates and working for companies that do large and small-scale recruiting, I can tell you there are key things that make or break an applicants chances. We also spoke with some recruiters in the workforce today for their opinions on the matter, and the results are quite similar across the board, even within a variety of industries.
It’s important to distinguish before we get any further that there are two distinct opportunities for employers to contact you - after you submit your resume or application and after your interview. Both opportunities pose different challenges or reasons as to why you may not have heard back from the employer. We're going to split this up into big two parts so that we can pack it with information for you to consider.
Part 1 - After You Submit Your Resume
You did all the hard work! You have crafted your resume for three long hours and wrote your cover letter. You have completed all of the online portal applications in the universe and have submitted to over 20 jobs. Still not hearing anything? There can be a lot of reasons for this, but some of the most common and important ones are the easiest to fix!
It's Not You, It's Your Resume
Generally, a recruiter is spending 30 seconds looking at your resume once it comes across their desk (or screen). In many cases, that only gives them time to review the top 30-40% of your resume. That makes for some pretty valuable space!
With some companies, it is not the department manager sifting through the applicants, if it is even a human sifting at all. Often a recruiter (or machine) is looking for people to match the job description they have been given to recruit for. That means that the person reviewing the job is looking for keywords that are used in the job description as well as their basic knowledge of the job function. Recruiters are looking for those skills, abilities and relevant experience before anything else.
So where could one put those skills, abilities and relevant experience for someone to easily find it? Perhaps the top 30% of their resume! We have seen many resumes come through our hands for review and a lot of people spend their top 30% with an objective statement (often too general to be related to the job), general education and contact information. That is valuable space!
Another aspect of the resume that the applicant may be missing the mark on is the design. Overly styled resume can be hard to read for both a human and a machine, and your chances of landing the job may get thrown out the window early on. On the flip side, resumes that have no styling, formatting or consistency can look cluttered and lack a cohesiveness that is clean and organized.
Call Me, Beep Me, If You Wanna Reach Me
It's a truth that some job seekers don't want to face. Follow-up is key to increasing your chances of the opportunity to interview for the job. As I mentioned earlier, applicants' resumes can be funneled through a recruiter or software that is looking for the best-matched applicant on paper. If your resume is not concise or clear enough to make it through the first line, your only chance lies with contacting the person responsible for determining whom to interview or the hiring manager directly.
If you do not know the contact information for the job, try searching LinkedIn for the job posting, as many times LinkedIn will provide the contact person. Additionally, you can try calling the company office where you are applying and asking for the contact information or to be connected to the person directly.
I should note that sometimes it's not that your resume is not a good resume. Taking a look at recruitment yield ratio may help to understand why following up is so important.
On average, roughly 240-250 applications are received for one corporate job posting. Less than 10% of those employees are even interviewed and only one person gets the spot.
In my experience, those employees that contacted the hiring manager and had some basic qualifications for the job were set up with a job interview 9 out of 10 times.
So What Can YOU Do?
Make sure your resume is up to date and making the most of the space by arranging your highlights and key qualifications at the top. Your contact information is not as important as what you have to offer, if a recruiter wants to contact you they will read your resume. Also, have someone look it over to ensure that it looks clean and professional.
It's also time for you to begin reaching out to find those hiring managers or recruiters responsible for the interviews. If nothing else it will put you on their radar for future opportunities as well. Just make sure that when you call, you are ready to answer questions about yourself, including your experience and where you see yourself in 5 years!