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5 Reasons they didn’t Call you Back

In the best of times, responding to a job listing can feel like sending your resume out to sea in a bottle. At least you received a call or an email acknowledgement. Now, with the volume of applicants higher than ever, you're more likely to hear nothing.

If there is a resounding silence from your queries, keep looking and networking. However, you can also do some sleuthing to give yourself a better chance of standing out next time. Recruiters and career experts agree that, if you didn't get an interview or phone call -- or even a thank-you email -- it may be due to at least one of six reasons.

1. They're just not that into you.

You're good, but someone else more closely met the qualifications. In a tight job market, employers can usually get exactly the type of candidate they want. A polite "thanks, but no thanks" letter or email would be nice. But don't expect it these days.

2. They may be into you, as soon as they get to you.

Companies receive so many submissions these days that they don't even have time to send out letters or confirmation emails. There are companies that need more than 2 months to decide and respond to applicants.

3. They would have been into you if you had followed directions.

HR specialists note that «Many job listings use the word 'must,' not 'it would be nice to,'". If it says you must have experience in X, then tailor your resume to show that.

If you're answering a job listing, be sure you respond in exactly the way the company wants. And be aware that if you're not applying for a specific job but rather sending out dozens or hundreds of form letters, your CV is likely to end up in companies' spam folders.

4. They might be into you if you apply for a more appropriate job.

Many job seekers are overqualified, under-qualified, or otherwise just wrong. If an employer need to fill a specific job, and you're not right for it, don't assume that we're going to find the right fit for you. A lot of times, people send resumes, and employers want to ask, 'Did you even read the job description?'’

5. There isn't any job.

Sometimes, due to last minute budget cuts, a position is eliminated before its even filled. Other times, companies reel in resumes even when they know there isn't any opening. Some companies want a big applicant pool because they think they may be hiring in the future.

How can you learn what happened?

If you feel like your resume is out at sea, and you'd at least like confirmation that you're out of the running, there are things you can do.

1. Contact the company.

Yes, the ad had a NO CALLS warning, and there wasn't a name anyway. But if you're pretty sure you're right for the job, and you've heard nothing after a week, you can still call someone to find out if you're at least in the running. Try to find the hiring manager (HR is too busy, and they almost never want to hear from you).

If you do follow up by phone, don't leave a voice mail. Early in the morning or after five you're more likely to reach a real person.

2. But don't be a pest.

‘’If you've had an interview and sent your thank-you letter, wait a week to call’’, HR specialists suggest. One or two emails are OK, but three will probably look desperate, they add. "And never, ever, show up at the company without an interview and demand to be seen. It will backfire."

3. Re-read the job posting.

Did the resume you sent really fit the job requirements? Or were you hoping they would find another job just for you?  When a candidate has done the homework and already knows the company and the position, it makes it easier for both company & itself.

4. Take a look at your resume.

Get a second opinion, and a third. Does it present you in the right light? Is it professionally formatted? Does it feature accomplishments, rather than merely job titles and dates?

5. Step up the networking.

It's always best to network your way into a position. You’ll get a lot more individual attention than someone responding to a job listing.