Have you ever had this situation occur in your job search: you send out a resume and cover letter for a job that looks perfect for you, but you never hear anything back from the employer? Nearly everyone has. It’s really frustrating when you feel like you’re a good candidate for the jobs you’re targeting but never hear anything back from employers. In reality, there are a number of reasons companies don’t call back. Here’s a list of the top six reasons job seekers never hear back from employers.
The Top Six Reasons Employers Don’t Call
Reason #6: Bad Match
First, take a look at the position descriptions (postings) you have answered to make sure you are not over-qualified or under-qualified, since this happens a lot. Sometimes a job seeker’s attitude is “Well, I know I COULD do the job.” In this market, COULD do the job almost never makes the cut. You need to show up as a “fast match” in order to have a good chance of getting to the interview stage. If your skills and the job requirements are a good match, chances are there’s another reason you aren’t getting called for an interview.
Reason #5: Response Is Still Coming, Just Later
Ask yourself, “How long has it been since I sent my resume?” I’m finding that it takes a LONG time for companies to respond. Years ago, I personally got a call after three months for a position I had applied for. In the past, more often it was public employers that took a long time, but now both public and private sector employers are in the same boat. It is taking employers weeks and months to go through the review process, especially if they’re receiving hundreds of resumes for each opening.
Reason #4: Fake Position
Companies sometimes don’t actually have a position open. They may be just “testing the market” to see what kind of talent is out there, or they may want to keep their database/file cabinets full of potential employees “just in case.” Another possibility is that they are trying to see if their current employee is looking for another job. “Blind ads” in the newspaper or online are notorious for being fronts for this type of activity. Crazy, I know, but it does happen.
Reason #3: Budget Cuts
Another possibility is budget cuts – a position may be posted, and then it is pulled back for budget reasons. This is not at all unusual.
Reason #2: Internal Candidate
Yet another reason you may not be hearing back from a potential employer is that they already have an internal candidate in mind; however, EEO law requires that they post the position anyway. It’s a formality, when in reality they’ve already hired the internal person. This is a big possibility, and it happens all the time.
And the #1 Reason Employers Don’t Call: Bad Resumes
You may be the best candidate for a job, but if your resume is bad, you’ll never get a call for an interview. It is unfortunate, but true. Employers use the resume to screen “out” more than to screen “in.”
Computer resume screening software searches for keywords in your resume. If the keywords the employer has selected as criteria are not in your resume, you’re out. After the computer picks the top resumes based on keywords, a human screener looks them over. If there are any spelling or grammatical errors on your resume, you’re out. If it is too difficult to read (small font, lack of white space, formatting inconsistencies, and so on), you’re also out.
Most people don’t stop and think about it, but looked at this way, the resume takes on a new importance: it can affect the length of your job search and the quality of your next job. Both of these mean money to you. A good resume can shorten your job search, so you can go back to earning money. A good resume can also get you interviews for the jobs you want at the salary you deserve.
A poor resume, on the other hand, can lengthen your job search and exclude you from making it through even step one, the computer search, for your desired jobs. It’s that simple.
What Makes a Good Resume?
I’ve already touched on some aspects of a good resume. They include correct spelling and grammar, use of strategic keywords, and attractive formatting. Take the following quiz for a more comprehensive look at your resume.
Test Your Resume I.Q.
Is your resume ready for the job search? Will it help or hinder your interview chances? Take this self-quiz from the National Resume Writers’ Association to evaluate your resume’s effectiveness.
- [ ] My resume is packed with industry-specific language and crucial keywords.
- [ ] My resume emphasizes and quantifies my achievements to show not only what I have done, but also how well I have done it.
- [ ] My resume contains superior grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.
- [ ] My resume uses varied action verbs and powerful marketing phrases.
- [ ] My resume emphasizes how I will benefit employers and meet their precise needs.
- [ ] My resume engages the reader from the outset and maintains interest throughout.
- [ ] My resume clearly communicates my job target and the key strengths I bring to the table within the first few lines of text.
- [ ] My resume uses an eye-catching, inviting, and original design (not a template).
- [ ] My resume includes ASCII (plain-text) and scannable versions to enable e-mail, web, and electronic distribution/storage.
- [ ] My resume communicates and targets my key transferable skills.
- [ ] My resume minimizes my potential weaknesses and turns negative “red flags” into positive assets.
- [ ] My resume uses the most effective format, style, and strategy for my particular situation.
- [ ] My resume utilizes CAR (Challenge, Action, Result) statements in a compelling way.
- [ ] My resume uses the same marketing techniques used by companies to sell my unique “brand” to employers.
If you checked 13-14 boxes:
Congratulations! Your resume writing abilities appear to be sound. You just might want to avail yourself of a critique from a professional resume writer to be sure you didn’t miss anything important.
If you checked 10-12 boxes:
You have some distinct abilities that will help you write a resume more solidly than most. Leaving out some critical components, however, can cost you interviews. Having your resume professionally crafted can help ensure you optimize your results.
If you checked fewer than 10 boxes:
You will miss many opportunities that may be perfect for you unless you have your resume professionally prepared.
Truly, the number one reason job seekers don’t hear back from employers is because their resumes are poor. Powerful resumes are focused on the job target, rich with relevant keywords, free of spelling and grammar errors, full of achievements (not just job duties), and formatted appropriately and in the most appealing manner possible. By improving the quality of your resume, you greatly improve the chances of being called by employers for interviews.
Hope you find these tips helpful! Here’s wishing much career success to you!