Updated: Mar 2, 2021
A poll in January 2021 found the biggest frustration of 2020 for job seekers was sending resumes without receiving responses.
40% said the worst experiences they had were sending more than 200 resumes without being contacted in return. A further 29% of respondents said being ghosted by recruiters was their least favourite job hunting experience of 2020.
Sending many resumes to no avail is a common frustration for job seekers engaged in the hiring process. An article in Forbes explains, “Employers are deluged with job applications. They don't have time to read all of them. The vast majority of the time, your online application is never seen by human eyes.” Likewise, recruiters are inundated with submissions. According to Business Insider, recruiters receive an average of 250 submissions per job opening and are only able to spend all of six seconds on each one.
So what can you do when you can’t find a job because employers don’t respond to your job applications or when recruiters ghost you? Here are a few of our best suggestions for you in 2021.
1. Target your resume and cover letter directly to the company’s needs
If you’re sending out generic resumes and cover letters to every job you apply for, you might want to rethink. The Muse explains, “One glance at your resume will tell an employer if you wrote it specifically for the company or if you created a one-size-fits-all document that you emailed to every business on your list.”
Research the jobs you are applying to and try to consider what the employer needs. Instead of asking yourself, “Why can’t I find a job?” ask yourself, “What problems does this employer have that I might be able to solve more successfully than other job applicants?” Adjust your resume and cover letter to reflect your ability to relieve their “business pain.” This approach might result in a few more responses to your inbox.
2. Clean up your social media
Did you know 70% percent of employers screen candidates on social media? This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. “Anything slightly objectionable on any of your social media sites can cause you to not hear back from an employer,” according to Flex Jobs. Before you apply to a job, remember to scroll through your social media posts and err on the side of caution: if you see anything you think potential employers might object to, delete it. You might think your social media platforms are an unlikely reason for not receiving responses from employers, but when you can’t find a job, it’s best to leave no stone unturned when it comes to presenting yourself professionally online.
3. Try a new hiring platform
Geekbidz is a new direct-to-hire job platform that invites job seekers to participate in an online skills ranking system. It uses AI to rank job seekers’ skills, then pairs employers with the candidate most qualified for their job posting. When a candidate is matched with their job opening, an employer can invite that candidate to an on-the-job evaluation.
Geekbidz is a two-for-one solution to some common job seeker frustrations: it uses AI to take the place of recruiters, so users will never have to worry about being ghosted by recruiters. Second, it eliminates the time-worn resume and interview process, so job seekers can stop dreading submitting a resume and not receiving a response. This new platform represents a hopeful alternative for job hunters who can’t find a job through the traditional hiring process.
4. Always follow up
The second greatest frustration of job seekers polled on Reddit was being ghosted by recruiters. While the vast number of job seekers who connect with recruiters makes some degree of ghosting inevitable, you can change your behaviour to ensure you are consistently one of the applicants who stands out above the others. Writer Shireen Jaffer-Minutes at FastCompany recounts, “One woman I worked with was told by a recruiter they would send her an assessment test as a next step. But she never responded to that email with a note saying, “Okay, thanks for sharing next steps”...Recruiters want candidates to show a consistent desire for the role.”
Whenever you make contact with a recruiter, make sure to send a follow-up email. Even if the follow-up appears unnecessary at first glance, it can make the difference between hearing back and being ghosted.
5. Don’t wait around
Keep your eyes open to other possibilities, even if you’re being recruited for a job that seems promising. Looking out for other opportunities might not stop you from being ghosted, but it will minimize the pain of being left hanging by a recruiter.
Glassdoor reminds job seekers to “operate with the assumption that until you’ve signed your name on the dotted line, you’re not employed anywhere and should be evaluating many offers at once.”
Obviously, when looking for a job, you want more than just to keep an open mind to new possibilities: you really just want to be hired. It’s true the traditional hiring process is broken, but the strategies above are some of our best tips for you to stand the best chance of succeeding in 2021 despite the challenges that come with the typical recruiter-and-resume journey.