5 (More) Reasons You Never Hear Back After Applying for a Job

It happens all too often: after carefully filling out the online application or emailing a resume, job seekers hear nothing but silence from hiring managers. With little to no feedback to work from, job seekers are often left wondering if they’re doing something wrong, or if this happens to every job candidate.

YouTern recently ran this post covering the top five reasons you never hear back after applying for a job. However, these aren’t the only ways you may be missing the mark in your job search. Increased competition in the job market means you can’t afford to ignore any aspect of your search, so it’s best to cover all your bases before hitting send on that email.

Here are five more reasons you never hear back after applying for a job:

1. You Didn’t Reach Out First

Sending tons of unsolicited resumes and cover letters isn’t going to make you look like an attractive candidate, but rather a nuisance. Before you send over your application materials, reach out first. Try engaging with the hiring manager – or even an existing employee – on their public social media networks first. Starting a conversation can help you to find common ground, and it will show your interest lies in the company – not just any open position.

2. Your Online Brand Stinks

With two in five companies using social profiles to research candidates, you can’t afford to leave your online presence unattended. Run a Google search of your name to ensure all results are favorable, and tailor your public profiles to reflect your career goals. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and engage with professionals in your desired industry on Twitter by sharing relevant industry news and insights. Hiring managers use online profiles to see whether you present yourself professionally, and it can help them to determine if you’d be a good fit with their company culture. Don’t skip this step!

3. You Didn’t Read the Job Description Carefully

Too many job seekers apply for positions without really knowing anything about the company or what the position entails. If you can’t demonstrate a working knowledge of the company and position from the get-go, hiring managers will write you off.

Determine exactly what skills are needed for the job, and carefully review your past experience to make relevant connections. Search for keywords in the description that also apply to your experience and include them in your application materials. Remember, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume or cover letter, you have to tailor each document to each individual employer.

4. You Never Followed Up

With today’s shaky economy, hiring managers are likely to receive tons of applications for one position. An easy way to be forgotten is to send an email application and never contact the hiring manager again. While you don’t want to pester them, you do want to follow up with a phone call or email one to two weeks after you’ve applied to further express your interest, determine if they received your materials, and inquire if there’s anything else they need from you.

Taking this extra step to reach out shows you aren’t just applying to any old job you come across – it shows you have a vested interested in this specific company.

5. You Haven’t Properly Networked

You’re much more likely to land a job at your ideal company if you’ve reached out to existing employees. Forge a connection with an existing employee by reaching out to them on Twitter or LinkedIn to express your interest in what they do and ask any questions.

Consider proposing meeting up for coffee or an informational interview to get all the insight you need and really cement the connection. Bring a copy of your resume and follow up with a thank-you afterwards. Your new connection could be just what you need to get a recommendation that could land you the job.

Instead of feeling discouraged when you don’t hear back from a hiring manager, use the opportunity to assess your experience and determine where you might have gone wrong. Regularly evaluating your performance – and taking steps to properly prepare for next time – can mean the difference between hearing crickets and landing that interview. Good luck!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets. Follow Heather on Twitter!



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  • I appreciate your first step. Employees have relationships with the companies they work for, so it’s important to start that relationship on the right foot: not begging for favors, but fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • Sani

    It’s so funny…because even 5 years ago, your online brand wouldn’t have been a problem. Now we have more pitted against us! It’s so important to make sure we have a positive, clean, and respectable online presence. Those who are high school and college students now must remember that when uploading data (i.e. pictures, etc.) about themselves on the web! Great post, Heather!
    Sani @ CollegeFocus

  • Christine

    I have to object to many of these. My husband has been on a multi-year job hunt. In his experience, hiring manager and HR representatives do an incredibly poor job of responding to follow up. They do not reply to emails or phone calls. My husband has had HR representatives call him and say they want to schedule an interview, but then not get back to him or respond to his messages. It’s disrespectful and adds insult to injury. Please remember there are real people behind those resumes.

    • Susan

      There’s a problem with responding to follow-up. I work in an HR office, and we get 1000s of applications for each position we post. If even 5 people call to follow-up to see if we received their application, it takes a big chunk out of our day to try to respond to them. Now imagine if EVERYONE followed up. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to respond to all of these requests. I totally understand wanting to know if your application was received, but we use an online application system. Every applicant receives an automated email saying that their application was received, and that we’ll contact them for an interview if we want to talk to them. So it’s frustrating when people call to harass us, and almost makes you want to not contact them at all.
      HOWEVER, I totally agree that it’s disrespectful for HR representatives to reach out to schedule an interview, and then never follow up. That’s just bad practice, and cruel to people who spend so much time applying to these jobs.

      • Christine

        I’m sorry — I should have been more specific — I was writing about following up after interviews. Typically he follows up about 2 weeks after an interview to see what’s happening — have they hired someone else? Have they pulled the position? — and no one replies. In fact, he rarely is ever officially rejected; the companies just go MIA. We have much more respect for companies that at least send an official rejection than those that never bother to respond when he’s spent four hours in interviews.

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