Job-seekers often wonder why they never hear anything back after they hit ‘send’ on the email with a resume attached or on the on-line job application. If you’re very lucky, you might have a preliminary email exchange or telephone call with a recruiter but then never hear from them again.
It’s a depressing experience and probably one which, in your opinion, also casts a shadow on the recruiters’ reputation. So why does it happen? Is it you, is it them, or is it just something every candidate must prepare for in the hiring process?
Job seekers face an uphill struggle, especially in these tough economic times. High unemployment globally means more competition for every vacancy and that means the employers and their recruiters have “the pick of the bunch”
Recruiters complain that as many as 50 percent of people applying for a job they are working on simply aren’t qualified and even if you are the right candidate you have to get yourself to the “top of the pile”. So how do you break through?
Here are my top 5 reasons you’re not hearing back after applying for a job with five suggestions for ways to avoid your CV disappearing into the abyss:
You really aren’t qualified. If a job description specifies a Master Black Belt, Six Sigma qualified engineer with over 7 years of experience and you’re a recent graduate looking for your first proper job, it’s unlikely you’ll get a call! Avoid disappointment – don’t apply for jobs for which you are not qualified. Most job descriptions are written with very specific requirements and often list essential criteria. The recruitment consultant is trying to find the most qualified candidate and yes, they are trying to weed people out. It’s not personal but it is business and it is recruitment.
You haven’t keyword-optimized your resume or application. Job descriptions contain keywords specific to the skills or attributes the recruiter seeks in applicants. A close read of the job description is a necessity, as is keyword-optimizing your resume and cover letter, should you choose to use one. Use keywords at the bottom of your CV and ensure the summary at the top of your CV succinctly describes your talents. Examples of keywords could be: “gold mine” and “general manager” and diamonds and coal and copper. Recruiters use Boolean search to find you so use the right keywords.
Your CV isn’t formatted properly. There is a raft of free information available on the Internet on how to present your CV. Whatever you do don’t post a photocopy of your CV or use borders, shading, fancy graphics or animation-all of these make it impossible for some recruitment software programs to import your CV. Recruiters in general are not lazy but why make it hard for them? And finally, make sure you send your CV as a plain word document and not a pdf! Recruiters will remove your name and contact details before sending your CV to their clients and this is tough to do if you send a pdf.
Your resume is substantially different from your online profile. Sites such as LinkedIn and other social networking sites can be useful tools and it‘s important to make sure what you put on them matches what’s on your resume. So if you are looking for work as a technical sales engineer then make sure your online profiles back that up.
The company received 500 resumes for one job posting, and yours was #499. Every morning (early) scour the job postings and jump on anything for which you’re qualified and that interest you. Keep a list of all your applications and never apply for the same job more than once.
How to get noticed:
Research interesting companies on social media. Find out who the recruiters are and interact with them. Many will tweet new postings, post LinkedIn updates and advertise jobs on Facebook pages. You need to watch their streams and jump on jobs you are qualified for.
Consider starting a blog in your area of interest or expertise. Social media is big and used by recruiters extensively so you need to advertise your digital persona. Include your blog link and links to your digital presence in your emails to the recruiters you’re working with.
Consider getting professional help with your resume. If you really are uncomfortable producing your CV then there are people out there who can help. Either a resume writer or an SEO expert can help you increase your odds of getting through the talent management software or the recruiter’s critical eye. If you can’t afford this step then use Google to find free templates and advice online.
If at all possible, don’t wait until you’re out of work to find your next job. I realize for many people this isn’t possible or might even be offensive or unethical, but your chances of finding the next job are best when you’re still employed. I strongly recommend you create the best LinkedIn profile you can, this strikes me as a good way of getting yourself out there without making your current employer feel uncomfortable. Check online, there is a good chance your boss has posted a profile!
Network. You will hear this often with good reason. You need to be visible, be upbeat, and be informed about industry trends and news in your area of expertise. Use the social networks; Facebook is not just for family pics and talking about that fantastic party.
Finding a job can be a tough and emotional experience. I would say that only 10% of the CVs I read lead me to pick up the phone and conduct an interview. Don’t take it personally and don’t give up – it’s not a rejection of you, it’s a reflection of the times. If you don’t hear back then double check what you have applied for and read these tips again.