There are all sorts of reasons your phone doesn’t ring after handing in your resume, and none of them feel good. But there’s a difference between just not getting an interview call and not knowing why, because with the latter, you at least have a shot at changing things up to increase your chances of making it to the next step.
Your Resume Has Errors on It
This could be anything from your phone number or email typed out incorrectly to major grammar gaffes elsewhere. With the former, the employer may well have been trying to reach you but couldn’t, so double-check that you’ve got your contact information right. If it’s the latter, you’ve been dismissed as a candidate because spelling and grammar errors tell employers you don’t care about the job enough to hand in a polished document. Impeccable spelling and grammar may not be your forte, but ask yourself if not honing that skill is worth not having a job.
You Have a Foreign-Sounding Name
Study after study has shown that employers very unfairly discriminate against job applicants who don’t seem American enough. Despite the country’s efforts at becoming progressive and open-minded, there’s still a huge blanket of xenophobia that prevents skilled individuals from getting good jobs. Unfortunately, your choices are fairly limited here, as short of “Americanizing” your name, changing employers’ minds about this stereotype only works if you have regular access to them.
You Only Apply to Jobs Online
There’s huge speculation that job postings on sites like LinkedIn are nothing more than scams, put up by employers who have to, even though they’ve already got a candidate lined up. That aside, clicking “send” on dozens of job applications is an impersonal process and tells employers you couldn’t be bothered to contact them directly. If a job is that important to you, spend the few minutes to Google the company and address your resume to a specific person.
You Don’t Have the Right Experience
There’s a difference between being borderline qualified and shooting so far above your head, you can’t even see where the line lands. For those who belong in the former category, ignore this section and keep reaching for jobs you know you have a shot at. But for those in the latter category, you’re just wasting your time and the employer’s time by applying for a job you’re not at all qualified for or experienced in.
You Didn’t Follow the Directions
If a job application says to send in your resume and cover letter, send in your resume and cover letter; don’t take it as your own personal option as to what you send in. Or if it says to address it to John Doe, address it to John Doe. Applying for a job is the first chance you’ll get to prove you can handle instructions and if you can’t do something as simple as X,Y, and Z, how will employers ever think you can handle more complex tasks?
The Position’s Been Filled
Sometimes, it’s just not your fault at all and an applicant got the job over you and there were simply too many applicants to call each one back to break the news. It happens, and it’ll continue to be the case that there are other applicants better, smarter and more accomplished than you. It’s nothing personal, but don’t let it discourage you from continuing to apply. Often, how graciously you act can be the difference-maker the next time.