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3 Reasons Why Employers Aren’t Responding to Your Resume

Since my previous post discussion exploring some of the common reasons behind slow or stalled communications with a company following a great interview (and in some cases an “unofficial” job offer), lots of people reached out to share their own stories and to gain a better understanding of why this might be happening. When all you hear on the news is that there are a record number of job openings and companies are desperate for employees, you just don’t anticipate these hiring stops and starts. It’s completely frustrating.

Sometimes the problem is simple enough to correct with just a few small tweaks on your end; but there are also instances where there’s just not much you can do. I’ve identified 3 common scenarios behind why you may not be hearing back from companies you’ve applied to.

#1 Sometimes Your Resume Isn’t ATS Compliant

When you submit your resume for a job online, it has to pass the company’s ATS screen. According to the article, “more than 90% of major employers now use automated screening of job applications.” That means your resume needs to contain specific keywords and follow an ATS-compliant format. If the resume passes the ATS screen, it then moves on to a human screen. If it doesn’t pass the ATS algorithms, it will be filtered from the system and never get seen by human eyes.

This is a fix that is within your control once you understand the rules behind building an ATS-compliant resume. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the next 2 obstacles…

#2 Sometimes They’ve Already Filled the Position

Believe it or not, this happens a lot. When I worked as an advertising executive at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I worked closely with accounts that regularly posted employment ads for a set number of days. I’d become friendly with some of the hiring managers, and several openly admitted that they’d sometimes advertise positions to the public only because they were required to by law. Meanwhile, they had already selected someone internally for the job! Remember, only around 30% of publicly-advertised jobs will lead to a hired position.

#3 Sometimes They’re Simply Testing the Market

The reason most people rely on job boards for their job search is ease and convenience. And that’s unfortunate considering all of the amazing jobs that are never shared with the public. For many, finding those “hidden” jobs requires more work to uncover than they’re willing to expend. That’s a shame because sometimes employers advertise job openings they aren’t even really hiring for just to evaluate the talent pool. Maybe they have plans to hire down the road, but then again maybe they don’t.

I advise all my clients to venture beyond job boards to discover the many unadvertised positions out there. Mix up your search to include searching the career pages of company websites; joining groups on LinkedIn and Facebook; or doing deep-dive research on the top companies you’d like to work for to uncover more hidden opportunities.

Image Credit: Elisa Ventur

Now be honest… is the resume and cover letter you’ve been submitting for jobs getting you noticed? How about your LinkedIn profile? Are you getting interviews? If not, we should talk! Contact me by phone: 1-866-562-0850, email:, or text: 256-733-0560 to schedule a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION 15-minute consultation. 

Kimberly Ben is a multi-credentialed Professional Resume and LinkedIn Writer and Job Search Coach. She has written hundreds of resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other career communications for multiple career industries and professions. Kimberly’s extensive education, training, and experience have resulted in a clear understanding of current hiring best practices and the most effective job search techniques, branding strategies, and insight on what it takes to gain the competitive edge and impress employers in a challenging job market.

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