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40 Resumes, No Response

The Hiring Process The Local Job Market Resumes and Cover Letters


I’ve sent out 40 resumes in the last week, and still don’t have a job offer. I haven’t even heard back from most of them. What’s going on here?



It’s hard to say without asking the individual hiring managers, but here are some possibilities that are within your control:

Are you researching the companies? It’s important to know what companies are looking for. It’s also important to know if the company is a good match for your particular background.

Are you allowing enough time? It takes a while for employers to review resumes, which is the first step in the hiring process. Sometimes a person necessary to the decision is away on vacation or out sick, which throws the whole process off. For most jobs, a week probably isn’t enough time to be ready even to call for interviews, much less make hiring decisions.

Do you have the qualifications? It’s not crucial to have every single one; a job lead is a wish list from the hiring manager. You do want to have most of them, though, or there’s no point in applying.

Are you targeting your resume to the particular job opening, using the keywords from each one? If you don’t use the keywords, it’s likely that you will be rejected by the Applicant Tracking System commonly used by employers. The more your resume is similar to the job lead, the better off you are.

Even if you’ve done everything perfectly, it would be unusual to hear back in such a short time frame. But you do also need to be prepared to hear nothing at all, ever, from many employers. Like everyone else, employers don’t like to deliver bad news, so most of the time they just don’t respond to imperfect candidates.

My best advice is to keep going. It does take time, but you’ll get there if you don’t give up.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.