You’re not getting any response to your applications for jobs. While you could keep contacting the employer to see why, think about these common reasons and try these simple fixes:
1) There are typos or grammatical errors in your resume and/or your cover letter.
Perhaps you think those shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you think, unfortunately. It matters what the employer thinks.
The employer thinks “this person couldn’t be bothered to have someone check their resume and cover letter for spelling errors, grammar errors, and typos. They were satisfied that their first impression was messy. They didn’t care enough to present themselves as caring about details. So if this is how they show up for a job application – the first step in getting me to hire and pay them – imagine how awful they will be as an employee. No thanks, this is not a person I will even bother talking to.”
Employers/recruiters/HR staff are looking for easy ways to reduce the pool of applicants. Don’t make it easy for them to reject your application.
Have someone else proofread your resume and cover letter.
Take the extra time to get them right. Speed is not on your side if it means you submit something with errors. Because to an employer “how you do anything is how you do everything.”
2) You don’t show how your prior experience is relevant to the job to which you are applying.
In your mind, it might seem obvious that if you were able to plan and manage events for advertisers, you can plan and manage fundraising events. That is probably not obvious to the prospective employer.
State the obvious. Tell the prospective employer what to you is obvious. It isn’t obvious to them.
In your resume, you can talk about your work in terms of the positive impact you have had on your previous employers, impact that you will also have on the prospective employer. Taking the events example, you can say “Helped increase advertising revenue by ensuring that all events met advertiser needs, ran smoothly, and produced complete guest satisfaction.” Fundraising events need to run on time and keep attendees happy so they will give money – aka revenue – to the non-profit.
In your cover letter you can say “At suchandsuch magazine, I planned and managed events tailored to specific advertisers’ interests, that solidified their commitment to our partnership set and generated increased revenue. I’ll bring that ability to satisfy stakeholder needs, run smooth events, and generate gifts to xyz organization.”
Make the link between your experience and their needs very direct and clear.
3) The employer doesn’t believe you have the required skills.
This may be because the employer is using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS scans resumes for keywords that are taken directly from the job description/job posting. If your resume doesn’t have those keywords, it will be discarded as “non-responsive.”
I recommend using language directly from the job description in your cover letter and your resume. If the job description calls for “action planning,” use that phrase instead of “strategic planning.” If the job posting calls for someone who is “collaborative” and “calm under pressure,” include a sentence in your cover letter and the profile at the top of your resume that uses those words. And remember that keywords can be 1, 2, 3 or more actual words in length.
Do these tips guarantee you’ll get a response? Of course not. But they do increase your chances of getting a response, as they have for my clients.