Is Anybody Out There?
Image Credit: Susanne Nilsson on Flickr
If you’re new to the job search game, (or haven’t been thrown into it since before, say, the 2008 crash,) you might be wondering right about now–where the hell is everybody??
Your day probably looks a little something like this: you fire up one of those massive aggregator job boards, type in your job title and your town, and read down the list of results one by one. Some look boring, some look confusing, some look intimidatingly complex, but maybe you find two or three golden little nuggets that you’d really love that look like a great fit.
“I’m TOTALLY a motivated self-starter who specializes in team synergy!” you think to yourself. It’s like it was written just for you. So, you open up your resume again, tweak a couple words or add a few lines, and send it off with a kiss! (Or sit there and suffer for another hour with the company’s “online form” that for some reason needs you to enter the EXACT same information that was already in your resume, which you still need to run through their sluggish document uploader.) And before you know it… wow, three hours have already gone by?? Time for lunch.
And you have the emotional energy for… maybe three or four of those in a single day? But, hey, that’s three potential jobs you just applied to, so now you can relax a bit! You kick back, wait, and…. crickets. Nothing. No calls, no emails, no ”
hey, thanks for applying but the position has been filled!” Nothing. I’ve been on both sides of this purgatory, as a job applicant and as a person making hiring decisions for a small company, and I can tell you that for the vast majority of those applications you send in, you probably never will hear anything back. More often than not, it has absolutely nothing to do with you as an applicant. And that’s because…
1. It May Have Already Been Filled
Seriously. When you applied to that job, it may have already been filled by the time you even saw it, and your resume is sitting on a hard drive somewhere without having ever been opened. The simple fact is this–very few companies will actually bother to go hunt down all the iterations of their job posting to take it down once the position’s been filled. They may have posted it to three or four different sites, each which involves hunting down another username and password. Once you’ve hired someone, you’re busy training and onboarding that new person–and you’re not even thinking about all the hearts you’re accidentally breaking by leaving up a dead post.
2. They Don’t WANT You to Know When It’s Been Filled
If you didn’t make the short list to the interview, that doesn’t mean that they threw your resume away and purged all mention of you. Very rarely does a job search have three or four stand-out, exemplary candidates who are heads and shoulders above the rest. More likely that they made a series of “short lists” before narrowing down to a handful to call in for interviews. Once they make a hire, they won’t email to tell you to keep looking elsewhere because they know they might need you again. Say their new hire decides the job just isn’t for them, or their skills turn out to be not up to par. If the newly filled position becomes suddenly vacant again, the company is going to want a pool of applicants readily available right away. They aren’t going to want to start at zero with brand new-applicants, they’ll go back into the short list from the ones they already have and save themselves a few weeks. But if they were to email every applicant to turn them away, they can’t do that.
3. You Might Be Aiming Too Low
I’ve seen this exact scenario dozens of times. Disheartened from an extended job search and the exact experience described above, an applicant concludes that maybe they just aren’t as qualified or desirable as they thought they were. Or, financial pressures drive them to seek simpler and simpler jobs as their savings dry up. I routinely see applicants with years of experience and specialized skills looking for administration jobs. What they don’t realize is that there is more competition at the bottom, not less. The more specialized skills you have, the more years of experience under your belt, and the better niche you have, the less competition there is going to be for you.
The most important, and I mean THE most important thing to remember here is not to let yourself get discouraged because you aren’t getting feedback. Every other applicant is dealing with the exact same thing, it does not reflect in any way on your skills or hireability.
If you’re sending out a whole lot of resumes and hearing nothing, give us a call. We do critiques for free, and we’ll tell you if the resume is your problem–just send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org and drop us a line letting us know you want it critiqued.