What to Do if You’re Not Getting Called Back—Ever

The cycle of applying for jobs and getting a pile of rejection emails in your inbox is taxing, but what if you aren’t ever getting a response, no matter how many perfect jobs you find? For many job seekers, submitting an application and not getting a response is a confidence-buster, but even if it feels like you’re the only one who’s consistently missing out, it happens to everyone at some point. On average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. Of those candidates, four to six are called for an interview, and only one gets the job. 

So how do you handle being the one who never gets called back—ever? There are some things you can do to follow up, but there are also a few ways you can soothe your ego before you dive back into the deep end of job searching. 

Start with a reality check

Let’s be real: You could be missing out because of some easily avoided mistakes. Ylonda Banister, PHR, the State of Tennessee’s senior human resources recruiter, says there are several rudimentary reasons you might not hear from an employer. They include missing or incorrect contact information, failing to update your resume to match the job description, or being hard to reach. “To be considered for a position you must meet minimum qualifications,” Banister says. “Also, applicants are not updating their resume to match the job description, so if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications, then you will not receive a call. Lastly, a new issue is applicants are not answering their phone for unknown numbers or returning voicemails in a timely manner.”

What to tweak if you’re not hearing back

Your resume

If you are not hearing back from companies, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Banister says to improve your chances of receiving a callback, review three to five job descriptions of positions that interest you. Then take information from those descriptions and incorporate it into your resume so you are using industry-recognized terms and keywords and your resume focuses on a specific field. 

Your network

Banister says the average job announcements are active for up to three weeks, so if it’s a job that you are really into, then you should use your network to contact someone in HR. “That can be done through the company website, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms. Also, don’t forget old-fashioned face to face. Recently, I was at an event and mentioned to someone that I was an HR recruiter. They immediately told me they applied for a position and had not heard back from the hiring manager. The next day, I sent a short email mentioning the candidate and asking for an update on the position. Within two hours, the candidate received the update.” 

Your strategy

Looking for a job often becomes a full-time job. Banister suggests taking a step back and developing a marketing strategy for yourself. “You should develop an elevator pitch, an application plan, and a social media plan to assist you with your career search. Find events that you can attend in person or webinars that would enhance your opportunity to socialize and network with people in your career field.”

Your social media

Social media is fun, but it’s also a place that many use as a personal diary. Banister says there are several things to consider when cleaning up your online presence. 

    How to take care of yourself while job hunting

    Self-care is important when your job applications have been ghosted. For your emotional well-being and ego, sometimes you have to take a break from the job search.

    Stay focused

    If you let it, you can go down the rabbit hole of applying for jobs and before you know it, an entire day has gone by. In order to focus your search and breathe a little, Banister suggests setting a job search schedule that includes a timeframe during the day to apply for jobs. 

    Bask in gratitude

    The lack of job application response emails popping into your inbox is enough to drive you crazy, so it may be time to turn the laptop off for a bit. Pull out a notebook and start a gratitude journal. Write about the things you appreciate in your life, including extra time spent with family while job searching. Banister says even stepping outside for a 30-minute walk without your cell phone can help you get recentered. 

    Be confident and bold

    Aza Comics’ CEO Jazmin Truesdale works in a male-dominated field and says it’s important to hold your head up high and be confident in your approach. “Our confidence is beat up on all the time. When you have it, everything falls into place. You aren’t afraid to go in there and ask for that raise or go for that job. I’ve learned that, oftentimes, it’s not talent that makes successful people, it’s being bold. Women won’t apply for a job because they don’t meet two of 10 requirements, but men will have the confidence if he only meets three of those requirements and still get the job because he gave himself the chance. Give yourself the opportunity, be willing to make mistakes, and learn from them, because all of that creates confidence.” 

    Stay positive

    Banister says while it can be hard to remain positive during the job search, keep the faith that the right opportunity is on the way. “Know that you are good enough,” she says. “There is a company and position that’s waiting for you.”

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