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Not hearing back after applying to jobs online after five or six attempts is normal. Not hearing back after 10 or 12 should raise a red flag.

When you’re not getting any responses at all, you’re probably doing something wrong, especially in a labor market that massively favors the job seeker. If you’re mystified as to why you’re not getting any responses to online applications, consider the following possibilities.

You’re using a spray-and-pray approach

You may think that sending in application after application is ‘playing the odds’ and an effective way to conduct a job search. However, applying to all job openings you come across isn’t the most effective strategy.

The most efficient approach to land the best job for you is to focus on your ideal employers, the businesses that interest you, are in sync with your passion and need your abilities. If you develop a list of best-fit businesses, you can customize your applications explicitly to those companies, resulting in a far greater chance of getting a response, and the job.

You aren’t customizing your resume and cover letter

While a targeted job search strategy is more efficient than a spray-and-pray approach, generic applications materials can short circuit your attempts to get a response from a potential employer.

Resumes and cover letters are typically screened by a hiring manager and automated software. One look at your resume from an experienced hiring manager is enough for him or her to tell if you tailored it expressly for the company and the job or sent in a generic document. Automated software is typically programmed to pick out materials that include language from the job description, which you should be using to customize your application materials.

Your cover letter and resume should be expressly tailored to both include language from the job description and your ability to address the company’s needs.

You aren’t getting specific

Many people use past-tense verbs to talk about their accomplishments at past job. For instance, they might talk about having “managed accounts” or “tested samples for quality.”

This lack of specifics doesn’t give enough information or make a compelling case for why a company should hire you. Instead, you should be putting your achievements into hard numbers, whenever possible. For instance, you could say you “handled 5 to 7 million-dollar accounts” at a previous job or “tested 10 to 15 samples an hour for quality.”

Your social media raises red flags

It’s become routine for companies to review the social media activity of potential employees. If you have unprofessional or controversial content on your Twitter or Facebook profile, it might be scaring off potential employers.

Completely scrub your social media of anything that might kill your chance of getting a job. If that means deleting an entire profile, so be it.

At SSI, we regularly help job seekers who aren’t getting responses to their applications. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you.


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