5 Reasons Your Job Application Didn’t Get a Response (And What You Can Do About It!)

by / ⠀Career Advice / April 12, 2014

job application 

In the midst of an arduous job hunt, you will find that many of your applications and resumes are not getting the response you expected from employers, let alone a response at all. More likely than not, you won’t even get a rejection letter from 90% of the places you are applying to.

Why is this?

1. Competition/ATS

One of the most prominent reasons that you didn’t get a response to your resume is that you’re facing dramatic competition. Remember that the Human Resources Department or the screener for the hiring manager, might receive hundreds, maybe even thousands of resumes weekly.

In order to deal with this, the HR departments and recruiters have turned to ATS software or Applicant Tracking Systems. These automated systems are looking for very specific keywords in your resume that match the keywords in the job description or offering.

What You CAN Do About It

Do your homework and research. Have some industry related keywords in your resume. Be sure to follow-up with an actual person who has either screening or hiring authority and pursues an answer on your resume.

2. Sloppy Resumes Filled with Mistakes

Sloppy resumes that are disorganized and have spelling or grammatical errors will either be thrown out by the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or rejected by the actual hiring manager.

If your resume is 5-7 pages long you can expect it to not to be read at all.

What You CAN Do About It

Make sure your resume is processed through a spelling and grammar check even, if the resume wasn’t produced in Word. Copy it to Word and make sure there are no additional errors in the resume. You could have another person proof read it for you as well. An extra set of eyes always helps.

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In addition, remember that the length of the resume counts. If your resume is 2+ pages, there’s a good chance it won’t even be considered. Hiring managers do not have enough time as it is, nor will they make the time to read and understand your lengthy fluff filled resume. A one-page resume is ideal. Consolidate and highlight your most profound and applicable skills.

3. Resume and Cover Letter Not Targeted

Did you cut and paste your resume into the application from this specific company and did you fire off your generic cover letter? Once again you might be dealing with an Applicant Tracking System that is looking for keywords in your application and/or resume.

What You CAN Do About It

Take the time to get it right. Do not cut and paste a generic resume or cover letter. Go to the job description and find your skills that match the company’s needs. Make sure the language in your resume is exactly the same as the language in the job description as it relates to those skills.

The same is true of your cover letter. In fact the cover letter might be more important than the resume because a person will be reading it not a computer. The cover letter should show how your skills in past jobs relate directly to what this company needs.

Look up information about the company and include it in the cover letter. Be sure to ask for the interview in your cover letter in an assertive but not aggressive way.

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4. Delivering Your Resume Without Following Instructions

Send you resume to a real person who can respond to it. Don’t send it to HR@somemail.com or to jobs@thiscompany.com. If the job ad and description do not give you a person, then take the time to do some research and find the name of the HR Director or even better the name of the head of the department the job is in,

What You CAN Do About It

Follow the instructions that are given with the ad and/or job description.  If the instruction says only complete the application than only complete the application and do not attempt to send a cover letter and/or resume.

On the other hand if the instructions call for a cover letter, a resume and a completed application, make sure you send all three. If they ask for salary requirements give it to them. If you don’t your resume might just get passed over. The company might want to see if you can follow instructions. So do what is asked.

5. Not Qualified/Holes/Job Hopping

First of all, are you qualified for this job? Make sure you are before you send in the application. Do you have gaps in your job history or a history of job-hopping? Without explanation these two items will cost you an interview.

Most hiring managers will just bypass those types of resumes if the Applicant Tracking Center doesn’t do it first. Even if there is no ATS used, an HR screener or recruiter will place your resume in the “no” pile.

What You CAN Do About It

As previously mentioned match up your skills with the requirements of the job description. This will tell you if you are qualified for this job or not. If you cannot match up most of your skills then don’t apply for the job.

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Use a functional resume that doesn’t call attention to the holes and the changes in jobs as much as a conventional resume does. Also even with a functional resume, explain at the end of the resume any gaps or job-hopping.

Be sure to note any layoffs, acquisitions, mergers or company conditions that caused any gaps or job-hopping.

There are a number of ways to make sure your resume and application are noticed. Yes it can be a pesky economy for positions, and yes the competition is certainly stiff. However, if you follow the advice given here under “What You Can Do About It”, you should be able to defy the odds and find more success on your applications.

What common resume or application mistakes do you typically make? Share with us in the comments below.

Gerald Buck is the editor of http://www.ejobapplications.com, a website offering free downloadable job application forms, career information, job interview and resume tips, as well as much more. He can be reached via email at buckejobapplications@gmail.com.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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