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When Employers Aren't Calling...

Looking for a job can be an emotional roller coaster.  Sometimes you send out a lot of applications and you don't hear anything back.  After a few months of this, it can start to be discouraging.  You begin to feel like you will never get an interview.  If this describes the situation you are in, here are a few steps that you can take to improve your response rate:   .

Incorporate keywords.  If you are targeting medium or large employers, chances are that they will be using an applicant tracking system.  In this case, a human being won't even see your application if you are not using keywords effectively.  The way that these systems work is that the recruiter will search the resumes based on specific keywords to generate a short list of candidates to review.  To make it to that list, you need look at the job description to predict which keywords they will be using and incorporate them into your resume and cover letter.  

Use your network.  Networking is the easiest way to get a job.  If you know someone who works at the company, they can quickly get your resume moved to the top of the pile.  It seems unfair but since bringing a new person on board is a risk, employers are always more comfortable hiring someone from within their network.  Talk to your friends, family and previous coworkers.  Let them know that you are looking for a job and ask them if they know of anything available.  Talk to lots of people because the best leads often come from the most unexpected places.  

Follow up on your applications.  It won't always work but following up on your applications can be an effective way to get the employer's attention.  It's much easier if you know the name of the hiring manager.  Give them a call, introduce yourself and say that you are calling to inquire about the status of your application.  You may not get much information, but if you impress them, they will take a closer look at your resume.   

Re-evaluate your strategy.  If it has been a few months and you aren't getting any interview calls, it might be time to make a change to your strategy.  Consider the jobs that you are applying for:  Do you have all of the requirements?  Are you a competitive candidate?  Think about the industry that you are targeting:  Is this industry growing?  Are there jobs in demand?  How are you approaching your job search?  How many applications are you submitting?  Are you mostly just replying to online job postings?  Is there another tactic that might be more effective?

Unfortunately, radio silence is part of the job search process.  It is not uncommon to send out dozens of applications without hearing a peep back from employers.  You need to be patient or you will be in for a lot of frustration.  Know that it is something that everyone experiences and that eventually you will get a job offer!

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by