Are you hearing nothing but crickets after you submit your resume? There are ways to remedy that.
It's a frustrating cycle. You spend hours searching for jobs, sink time into perfecting your applications, and then … *crickets*.
You're not alone. For many job applicants, unfortunately, this happens more often than not. But why is your resume getting ignored? And what can you do about it?
Before you throw in the towel (or throw your computer out the window), here are some common reasons your resume is probably getting ignored — plus exactly what you can do to finally get noticed.
3 common reasons your resume is getting ignored
Sure, sometimes the job-application process is out of your hands; maybe the company already filled the position or maybe it decided to hold off on hiring. But more often than not, you're probably getting lost in a sea of resumes.
So how are you supposed to stand out from hundreds of other job applicants? It may be easier than you think. Here are some common reasons you could be getting ignored — and how to fix them:
1. You're not playing smarter than the resume bots
If you don't yet know about resume bots (more technically called applicant-tracking systems), here's a quick rundown: Companies, especially larger ones, use software to rank resumes. This system automatically sorts and scans resumes, weeding out the ones deemed “unfit.” That could mean your resume is getting passed over before any actual human hiring managers put their eyes on it.
It sounds frustrating, but there are some simple strategies to help you beat the resume bots, including:
Keep the design simple: Get rid of complicated templates and don't bury information in headers or footers.
Include keywords from the job description in your resume: These are typically hard or soft skills used frequently throughout the listing.
Don't save your resume as a PDF: Sure, it can look cleaner, but it's not ATS-friendly.
2. You're not paying attention to the job description
Here's the thing: You should be tailoring and tweaking your resume for every job you apply for. Not only can this help you beat the resume bots (those keywords are important), it can also help you woo the actual humans who are reviewing your resume.
Take note of the qualifications, skills, and requirements in the posting, and make sure you incorporate those throughout your resume when relevant. The easiest place to tailor your resume is in the "Areas of Expertise" section. You can also tweak your resume summary to showcase specific facets of your experience that match up to the job description. By doing this, you'll cater to the bots and the hiring managers who are reviewing your resume.
3. You're not showing your successes
Remember show-and-tell in grade school? Well, on your resume, it's important to show — not tell — your successes. Here's an example:
TELL: Worked to meet customer requests
SHOW: Answered customer inquiries via phone and email with a 98% satisfaction rate
To show your accomplishments, think about what you did to complete your job. Did you design a spreadsheet? Receive recognition? Hit company quota? When possible, be specific and use numbers to back up your claims.
How to respond to being ignored
Still hearing crickets? Unfortunately, it happens, but there are a few things you can do.
Following up after submitting a resume
Your first order of business is to follow up on your job application. Check the job listing or company's website for the hiring manager's contact information, or call the company and ask for the name and email address of the hiring manager.
Then, send an email — and keep it short and sweet. Here's a template to help you get started:
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
I recently applied to your [name of position] opening at [name of company]. I know you're busy, but I wanted to follow up to see if you have any updates on your hiring timeline.
I'm really excited about this opportunity, and I think my skills and experiences — especially my [relevant skill or experience] — would make me a great match for the job.
I attached my cover letter and resume for your convenience. Let me know if you'd like additional information as you move forward. You can reach me at [email] or [phone number].
Thank you for your consideration.
As a rule of thumb, wait at least a week or two before following up. If you don't hear anything, it's time to move on to your next opportunity.
When following up doesn't work
If you're still not having much luck, it might be time to revamp your resume. While it's not ideal, sometimes scrapping what you've got and taking a new approach can work.
A professional resume rewrite is worth it and can help you beat the bots, attract recruiters, grab the attention of resume reviewers, and get you hired faster. Plus, it takes a lot of the work off you and puts it on the pros.
Of course, starting all over from the beginning with your resume is definitely not ideal, but it might be a lot easier than you think — and it could help you to finally stop getting ignored.
Think you might need a rewrite? Learn more about working with a professional resume writer today.
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