I’ve talked to a multitude of candidates about a recurring issue that seems to affect most professionals at some point in their career: the dreaded radio silence that follows after you’ve submitted your resume to a new company. Candidates ask; why is this happening? What’s wrong with me? Am I not good enough?
The truth is; you might be getting zero response to your resume for a number of very valid reasons. And it’s usually nothing personal.
As a recruiter, I work with executives eager to fill open positions in their companies every day. In my experience, three reasons come up again and again for candidates who aren’t getting any nibbles when they apply.
Three Reasons Your Resume Isn’t Getting a Response
- You’re applying for positions outside your core competencies
- There’s a staggering number of other candidates
- Your resume needs some work
You’re branching out a little (or a lot) too far
There’s nothing wrong with trying to land a job that’s not quite like anything else on your resume. However, you have to accept going into it that your application will be viewed alongside those from candidates with more direct experience, and that may put you at a disadvantage.
It’s not that companies don’t give candidates who haven’t held the exact position they’re applying for a chance. It’s that you have to do a really good job of showing the recruiter how the experience you do have will translate to success in the position they’re looking to fill.
In my experience, companies are looking for good matches along the axes of experience, industry, and level. If your core competencies don’t complement the job duties, chances are you aren’t getting an interview.
You’re one of many
I know it’s tough, but put yourself in the recruiter’s position. Some jobs are more popular than others, which means many people are going to apply. And if the company is known as a great place to work, you can bet any open position is going to attract a lot of attention in the employment market.
Of course, I would encourage you to apply for the jobs you want, especially if you’re a good fit and regardless of how many applicants may be applying. Just remember that it’s common to get no response. There are a ton of people vying for an interview, and only a fraction of the applicants will get one. Try not to take it personally; sometimes recruiters can’t get back to every candidate, even the good ones.
Your resume isn’t sending the right message
Before you assume the lack of response is due to reasons #1 or #2, consider your resume.
- Is it well written?
- Does it flow nicely?
- Is it easy to read and comprehend?
- Is it easy to skim?
Be brutally honest with yourself. If your resume doesn’t read well or present you as the best candidate for the job, you aren’t going to get a call.
The good news is; your resume is something completely in your control. You can revise, tweak, and re-write it to your heart’s content. Obviously, you’re limited to the positions, education, and experience you have, but you can polish and refine all that information to present yourself in the best possible light.
If you’re not updating your resume to read well for the position you’re applying for, you’re missing a huge opportunity to stand out.
Many candidates – even top-level executives – will send a generic resume. However, marketing 101 says if you want to persuade someone to do something (like give you an interview), you have to speak in a way that appeals to them. Knowing your audience is key.
Check out the job listing and pick out keywords the company uses to describe the position and the person they’re looking for and revise your resume & cover letter using those keywords and supporting information that directly reflects how your experience and expertise will meet their needs.