When you click the submit button on an online job application, where does it go? Ideally, it’d be shot directly to the inbox of a hiring manager, who would immediately pick up the phone to call and say, “You’re hired!” Unfortunately, if you’ve ever waited to hear back about a job application, you know that’s not the way it usually shakes out. 

According to research done by Glassdoor, the average corporate job opening can attract up to 250 resumes. Of those, only four to six applicants will be called for an interview! That puts job seekers at about a two percent chance of breaking through the pack, and that’s if you do everything right. With every error a job seeker makes when applying, the chances of being contacted drop lower. 

Don’t let common mistakes hold you back! If you’re wondering where that follow-up call or email is, consider these four reasons why you weren’t contacted about that job application: 

Technical Difficulties 

Gone of the days of having to put pen to paper in order to apply for a job. While technology has enabled job seekers to apply for more jobs in more ways than ever before, it also adds new challenges. Now, job seekers need to pay attention to the way their information is being shared on digital platforms. Beyond keeping login information straight across multiple employer application websites, files types for attachments like resume and cover letters must be considered. A document originally crafted in Microsoft Word may look different when read on Google Docs or when converted to PDF. Always confirm the preferred file types and review your documents in the requested format before submitting . 

Incomplete Defeat

It has become common for an employer to have a website dedicated to career opportunities. These sites often require job seekers to create a username and password in order to apply to jobs and keep track of the application process. While this can be a great convenience, it’s only natural to feel a bit of frustration after entering your information multiple times in multiple places. However, it’s important to not get sloppy, even if fatigue sets in. A simple way to have your application taken out of contention is to leave sections incomplete. Make sure to review the entire application, top to bottom, to ensure it is entirely filled out every single time.  

Keywords are, well, Key

Pay attention to these three letters, job seekers – ATS. It’s an acronym which stands for “Applicant Tracking System” and it can mean the difference between silence and hearing back about that job application. In short, these systems help to automate the job of reviewing resumes by identifying key words selected by hiring managers. Applications that don’t include them will have a harder time rising to the top of the pile. To avoid being passed over, use the job listing as a guide for plugging in relevant terms and phrases; it should include many of the keywords the employer is looking for.

Too Late

Timing is everything. Studies have shown that hiring managers are most likely to respond to applications three days after the opening is posted. After that, the rate of replies slowly trends downward. Keep an eye on the date listed for the opening. Many organizations publish their job opportunities in multiple places, so it’s possible it may remain active on certain sites well after the position has been filled. If it’s been a while since the listing was published, consider reaching out to the organization to confirm whether its still active or not. 

There are plenty of reasons you may not have heard back about that job application. The fact that you have yet to be contacted by an employer is no reason to be discouraged! Often times, it’s not even due to a mistake made by the job seeker; maybe you just weren’t the right fit! The important thing is to minimize mistakes, stay motivated and learn something new from every application. 

What are the reasons why you weren’t contacted about that job application? Share your stories in the comment section below!