4 Reasons You Don’t Hear Back After Applying for a Job

February 2013

One of the most frustrating aspects about the job search is that continual cycle of applying for a job and never hearing back from the company or the recruiting service working on that position. It is somewhat like a “Resume Black Hole,” where you never get a clear answer or a reason why you weren’t contacted for the position or the job.

It’s important to remain subjective and keep a clear head during this process. Larger companies - and even smaller ones too – now use talent management software to prescreen resumes, and can possibly weed out up to almost half of the applicants before a resume even reaches the HR department.

Here are some reasons why your resume might have been overlooked and some different ways to stay out of this “Resume Black Hole.”

  1. You actually don’t meet the qualifications. Be honest with yourself throughout your job search. Did you just graduate college and are applying for jobs that request at least 5-7 years experience? Are you focused on positions with management level experience required and you have had only one internship? Don’t try to outthink the organization that you’re applying for. The requirements listed in the job post are only designed to find the correct applicant, and they are using an easy tactic of weeding people out. If you don’t fit the qualifications for this position; find the jobs that you do.
  2. Your resume doesn’t match to the job description. As previously mentioned, most companies are using talent management systems to weed out over half of applicants before they even lay their hands on a resume. That being said, there are ways to beat the system. Read through the job description carefully to pick out all the keywords and any software that is stated throughout. Make sure your resume reflects those as closely as possible.
  3. There are distinct differences in your resume and your online profile. If you compare your paper resume and any form of professional social profile (LinkedIn, Dice for example) they should sync pretty closely. This may sound like an easy one, but it is also an easy one to overlook. The dates and your titles should all match up. Be honest with your potential employers about your job history, it will only help you down the road.
  4. The timing is off. While this old adage is true in personal matters, it is definitely true in the job search. If the job posting has been online for a few days- chances are the company has had a multitude of applications come through already. This doesn’t mean to not apply – but be strategic during the job search process. Do your research and truly find the companies that you want to work for. Are they hiring? Check their postings everyday! Jump on them in the morning when they might be more current. Being early with your resume or application really does matter.

The important thing to remember during this time is that a job search really is a job. It takes dedication and persistence. And if you do feel like you are stuck in the “resume black hole”, don’t take it personally – it’s not a rejection of you, it’s a reflection of the times.