Am I Being Ghosted? The Real Truth Behind Unanswered Resumes

Long gone are the days of submitting your resume in person, assuring yourself that someone has it in hand. Now, we’ll be lucky to get a confirmation email saying, “We received your resume.”

The job market these days feels more bleak than ever, with the lack of contact and connection. People click submit on resumes and cover letters only to feel like they have been sent to the abyss forever.

Refreshing your email over and over stings, and the obvious rejection feels humiliating. Fortunately, it’s possible to get past this ghosting stage in the job search process. The following strategies are here to help you overcome missed opportunities and prepare for the next one coming your way!

Common Reasons Your Resume is Getting Ghosted

There are lots of reasons you might never hear back after submitting a resume for a job vacancy. Here are the most common.

1. Competitive Job Market and High Volume of Applications

The job market can be highly competitive, especially the executive job market. With numerous qualified candidates, employers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resumes to review. Lack of time and bandwidth internally results in low response rates.

To be noticed among the large pile of applicants, you need to have a resume that stands out, captures their attention, and showcases your unique value proposition.

You aren’t trying to say you’re the best project manager; you are trying to say you are the best project manager for their company.

2. Lack of Tailoring and Customization

A common mistake people in the job market make is failing to personalize their resume to the specific job and company. As mentioned, you need to convey why your skills are best suited for the requirements needed for the role.

Tailoring your resume for each application using relevant keywords and specifications from the job description is key to increasing your chances of getting noticed by the hiring team.

Always research the company before applying! Reviewing its website and recent news can provide additional insight that could be helpful in the hiring process.

3. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Challenges

Applicant Tracking Systems play an important role in the initial screening process. These automated systems scan resumes for keywords and qualifications required for the position. These tools are supposed to help narrow down the most qualified candidates for companies receiving a large number of candidates.

Unfortunately, great candidates are often missed because their resume isn’t tailored to the job description.

Strategically incorporating keywords into your cover letter, resume, and even LinkedIn profile optimizes your chances for ATS compatibility. Leave the “JavaScript Rockstar” and “Coding Ninja” titles on your Facebook profile! ATS won’t understand it.

4. Weak or Inconsistent Branding

A crucial difference in getting an interview in a competitive job market is your personal brand. When an employer picks your resume out of the tall pile, they will research it before reaching out to you.

If your LinkedIn profile hasn’t been updated in 2 years and doesn’t match your current resume, it’s a red flag!

It’s important to have a consistent message across your cover letter, resume, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and other related professional pages. Like dating apps, no one likes a person who looks entirely different in person from their profile pictures!

Strategies To Increase Your Chances

hallway of people waiting for job interview
Image Credit: adriaticphoto via Depositphotos.

Getting ghosted during your job search can feel disheartening, especially when you’re putting in significant effort. Landing the job that’s right for you is going to be unique to you. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others in your industry or finishing in a certain timeline.

Use these strategies to help you improve your callback chances.

1. Networking and Connections

With the popularity of LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media sites, staying connected with old friends and colleagues is easier than ever before.

Using the network you already have can be a powerful tool in finding your next job. A simple DM (direct message) is an easy way to learn more about companies, positions, and possibly industries you’re unfamiliar with from people you already know.

If you don’t know anyone with relevant experience, LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with new people in your industry. Don’t be afraid to connect with new people and introduce yourself if you are interested in their career path or company experience—that’s what LinkedIn is for. As you grow your network in your industry, connections can refer you to companies or provide crucial introductions that could lead to interviews.

The key to networking is not expecting them to find a job for you but to provide you with a piece to help you along the way. You never know what one conversation could lead to in your career!

2. Following Up Appropriately

Following up after submitting your job application can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. Crafting the right message is key to standing out and getting a response. As mentioned before, researching the company you’re interested in before you apply can help you later when it’s time to follow up.

Reviewing the website may lead you to see a hiring email not listed on LinkedIn that you could use to reach out. If you apply directly on their website, check their LinkedIn page to see if they are posting these roles and if you have any connections to the company. Follow up with a polite and professional message that expresses your continued interest in the position without appearing rushed or pushy.

3. Staying Organized and Positive

The most important aspect in successfully leaving the job search process and landing that dream job is keeping yourself organized and staying positive despite the rollercoaster of emotions it can bring.

Having a document to keep track of the companies you are applying to and interviewing with is crucial. The rollercoaster of rejections, callbacks, and confusing responses can leave you feeling exhausted and defeated. This can result in becoming unfocused and losing sight of the job search process.

Taking time for yourself and practicing self-care during this time leads to long-term success. Self-care is a personal investment in your future self!

Get Your Resume Seen

Getting job applications ghosted happens to the best of us, but it’s possible to improve your chances of getting responses and start landing interviews.

Empower yourself to get organized and create your own process with our effective strategies. Craft a tailored resume, make sure you include keywords so it’s compatible with ATS, update your LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to DM some old and new friends, always research the company, and take care of yourself first!

By implementing these strategies, along with others, I’ve witnessed considerable success in overcoming missed opportunities and finally landing dream roles with confidence.

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy, MCD, NCOPE, CMRW, CERW, CEMC, CRW, CPRW, is a Certified Master & Executive Resume Writer and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. (PRS), home to some of the best resume writers on the planet. PRS was voted "Forbes Top 100 Career Websites" and "Top Followed on LinkedIn" two years in a row from Jobscan. She is also a LinkedIn "Top Voice" and publishes posts on the platform regularly. She has been quoted in, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Mashable, and more.

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