When should you begin to worry?
If you send out a single resume and don’t hear back, that is nothing to be worried about. Heck, even if you send out 10 or 20 and don’t hear back, it is not necessarily the biggest deal.
However, there comes a point where you have to realize that something is wrong here.
Is that number at 50? Maybe 100? Or maybe even higher like at 150 or 200?
I don’t know that there is a number across the board where everyone should be equally worried. You have to take into account the specific field, the competition, the region of the world etc.
Yet, one thing is certain, if you hit this point, then something is wrong and you need to adjust your approach or you’ll be 5 years out of engineering school and still not have an engineering job.
Why are they not calling back and what can you do?
Ultimately, this is the question you need to be asking.
You have a degree. You (hopefully) are a decent person. You’re willing to learn. So what is going on?
Here are several possibilities that can explain this situation and some advice on how to adjust accordingly:
- Are you REALLY qualified for the job? Do you meet the stated requirements? No, you do not have to meet EVERY SINGLE requirement, but you should meet most of them. This is particularly true if you are applying online where they can automatically reject applications without specific skills.
BONUS TIP – Try to connect with someone in the company who knows the real requirements for the job and not just the wish list they posted in the ad. See how well you stack up against those and also make sure you refer to them specifically in your resume (see #3 below).
- Does your resume portray you appropriately? When you read your resume, your mind can basically fills in the blanks since you know your background quite well. However, when someone else reads your resume, are they getting that same picture? It’s always beneficial to have someone else look over your resume and give some input to make sure you are hitting the intended target.
- Generic cover letter & resume versus customized ones. Stop using the same one for each application and instead look at the job requirements, company profile, and also consider their culture if you can gain that info. Using this information, tweak your cover letter and resume to suit their interests.
- Did you apply correctly and on time? I can’t even count the number of engineers who told me the reason they were never called back was because they filled something out incorrectly or submitted their resume on the wrong day because they thought 12 midnight meant 12 noon.
- Did you follow up? Recruiters and HR folks might overlook your resume because they got busy or they might misplace your resume by accident. If it has been over a week and they have sent nothing to acknowledge receipt of your resume, I recommend dropping them a quick line to check in and ensure it gets into their system.
Why I didn’t mention interviews . . .
There will be times when they call you in for an interview, but then you fail to get an offer.
The reason I did not talk about that here is because it is a completely different issue. The reasons that one never gets to the interview stage as discussed above are very different than the reasons one does not receive an offer.
I do plan to deal with this issue in a future article, but, for now, I think it is important for you to realize that these are two different issues that require two different approaches to overcome.
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