If you keep getting ghosted when you apply for jobs, there may be several reasons the hiring manager at the other end of your email correspondence isn’t getting back to you.
For starters, consider the sheer volume of people who might be applying for the same job. Depending on your industry, HR might be overwhelmed with candidates, the position might have been filled internally or, even, eliminated for cost-cutting reasons.
“In certain markets, like engineering, there’s a high demand for your talents right now,” says Dave Fano, CEO of Teal, an online job search platform based in Miami. “A few months ago, the same was true for nurses and, right now, hospitality workers are in demand. These market dynamics are ever-shifting.”
Second, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have experienced a significant reset and may have made major changes within their hiring team.
“Talent acquisition teams have been reduced at a lot of organizations,” says Annie Glassman, talent director at Atrium, a woman-owned staffing and workforce solutions firm based in New York City. “What this means is that there may not be a specialist available to take on the burden of hiring.”
So what’s the best way to cut through the noise and make sure your candidacy gets acknowledged by a potential employer? Read on for six expert-driven tweaks you can make—now—to help ensure a callback:
When you’re looking for a job, you’re selling a product—and that product is you—so make it a goal to adhere to this mindset throughout the job search, even when you’re being ignored.
“It’s important to remember that an employer isn’t doing you a favor by employing you,” Fano says. “So, like a salesperson, you can’t let anything stop you—even when you get no reply. Every great salesperson knows that you have to keep going no matter what.”
If you keep sending out the same generic cover letters over and over again, you may have tapped into the reason why you’re not getting any replies. Instead, make your case as high up in the letter as possible so no hiring manager can miss what you bring to the table.
“To do this, formulate a response to the issue at hand for each company you’re replying to,” Fano says. “Just because a company posts an opening for a product manager doesn’t mean that the challenges for the person who is hired for that position will be the same across the board.”
Ultimately, you want to present the one thing you think the company should do to solve a current issue. “Package that action plan in a well-written letter and you’ll hopefully get more traction,” Fano says.
Instead of treating your resume as a static document, consider it a sales tool that gets constantly tweaked. Avoid focusing on fonts, colors, or page count, and tailor your resume to what a particular company needs right now.
One way to do this is to include as many metrics as you can since it’s those numbers that serve as proof of your abilities.
“Being able to quantify your work is excellent,” Fano says. “Instead of writing ‘helped manage the team for high performance,’ write what you did. If profit grew, if you saved the company money, say so since that says you know how to speak about your work in an empirical and measured way.”
Job hunting is a numbers game and the more you apply, the better your chances of hearing from a potential hiring manager, Glassman says.
“We like to talk about job searches as a top of a funnel,” she says. “The goal is to keep applying, keep getting your name out there, and filling the top of that funnel with the hope that a reply comes out the other side.”
If you still feel like you’re getting zero traction when you send out your materials, don’t sit back. Instead, connect with others in your field and use tools such as LinkedIn.
We get a lot of questions about this, like ‘I don’t want to be too pushy,’ but in job seeking (and life), if you don’t ask, you don’t get,” Glassman says.
You can use that email as an opportunity to do a quick follow-up.
“Write something like ‘Hi-I hope you’re doing well. I applied to X position and I just wanted to follow up with you directly to let you know how eager I am about the opportunity. Based on my XYZ experience, I think I can add value. If there’s anything else I can do to secure an interview please let me know,’” Glassman says. “The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get a response back.”
Finally, it’s okay to follow up with a contact, especially if you want to burst out of the ‘I’m being ignored’ vortex.
Just keep in mind the size of the organization you’re applying to.
“A really big company will probably have quite a big hiring division and may take a while to go through applications,” Glassman says. “I think it’s completely fine to follow up a few weeks after you’ve sent in your materials.”
If a month passes without a response, it may be smart to back burner that opportunity and focus on other options.
“Whatever you do, stay professional throughout,” Glassman says. “You may be frustrated during this process, but you don’t want to burn a bridge when following up. After all, these things can circle back around. You never know if you’ll get a call out of the blue in response to your application.”
This article originally appeared on Ladders.
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