Job applicants often wonder why they never hear back from prospective employers. After filling out dozens of resumes, applicants can feel easily discouraged when they don’t get a call back from any companies.
However, it seems that the odds are stacked against job seekers from the start.
Job search site Glassdoor compiled a list of useful statistics surrounding the hiring process. One stat, in particular, found that each corporate job position receives an average of 250 applications, yet only four to six candidates will be contacted for an interview.
In fact, “98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening,” Robert Meier, president of Job Market Experts, told Workopolis. With such a quick elimination rate, applicants don’t have much room for error when creating a resume.
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While the current unemployment rate is under 4%, Business Insider explained that the low rate is accompanied by a fall in participation as Baby Boomers retire. However, that doesn’t make entry-level availability any better for recent graduates. The job market is still competitive, especially for tech.
However, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that IT jobs are projected to grow the most in the coming years. Between 2016 and 2026, tech job availability is expected to expand by 13%, which is quicker than the average for all other occupations, said the study.
The growth is both good and bad for tech employees: More opportunity, but also more competition. If students see that the tech industry is growing, there may be an influx of graduates pursuing those jobs, providing more competition for those already struggling to get hired.
At any rate, applicants shouldn’t feel hopeless. There are still steps that can be taken to make yourself a more marketable candidate. You don’t need to change your resume, just improve it.
Here are five reasons why your application may not be doing well.
1. You are not qualified
Oftentimes, applicants apply for jobs that really don’t fit their experiences or skills. “You may have been underqualified, or even overqualified, for the job you applied for if your skills or years of experience didn’t match the requirements listed in the job posting,” said Sarah Stoddard, career trends analyst for Glassdoor.
The job descriptions have specifications for a reason, so candidates must pay attention to them. “Avoid disappointment – don’t apply for jobs for which you lack qualifications. Yes, the company is trying to find the most qualified candidate; yes, they are trying to weed people out. It’s not personal, it’s business,” said Meghan Biro, CEO of TalentCulture, in her Glassdoor post about career advice.
2. You don’t pay attention to detail
Triple-check your resume and cover letter. An easy way to get your application thrown out is if you’re sloppy. Make sure everything is spelled correctly, you are addressing the correct company, and that your information is consistent.
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“Some people never get an interview because their application just isn’t up to par,” said Stoddard. “Attention to detail is key, and when recruiters and hiring managers are sifting through dozens or hundreds of applications, these small mistakes can act as a quick indicator to move on to the next applicant.”
3. You have inconsistencies
Being inconsistent is another easy way to get an application thrown out. Make sure your information on your resume matches information portrayed via social media.
“You should also make sure to always accurately represent your employment and education history,” said Stoddard, “as any discrepancies could raise some major red flags.” A simple thought, yet many people fail to comply.
“Jobs worked, employers, years on the job and other details should match. The subtext here is always tell the truth,” explained Biro. Don’t try to make yourself look better by fibbing on previous job descriptions or amount of time. These inconsistencies just make you look either careless or untrustworthy.
4. You aren’t cognizant of keywords
When reading a job description, pay attention to the words the company uses. Stoddard recommends optimizing keywords from the original job description into your cover letter or resume. Overlapping keywords shows personalization, making yourself appear as a good match for the job, and showing that you actually read the full job listing, said Stoddard.
“Job descriptions are salted with keywords specific to the skills or attributes the company seeks in applicants. If the job description lists words in a certain order, e.g. a list of programming languages required, use the same order in your resume,” advised Biro.
5. You were too late
Check job listings daily. If you apply to a job that was posted weeks ago, you shouldn’t be surprised when you don’t receive a response. The longer you wait to apply, the more time you give other applicants to see the posting and apply too. “Being early with your resume or application does matter,” stated Biro.
“Sometimes it could even come down to something as simple as timing — you could have been the hundredth person to apply, when they already had several interviews lined up for the role before they even get a chance to see your name in the queue,” explained Stoddard.
Stoddard provided some other pieces of advice for those on the job hunt. She recommends “starting a blog in your area of expertise, developing an online portfolio, growing your professional network or asking mentors and peers for advanced help with your resume. And, whenever possible, don’t wait until you’re out of work to job hunt.”