In the last year I’ve applied for a bit over 300 positions. Some of those are full-time jobs, some are contract or freelance opportunities, some were part-time retail. 300+ times I’ve clicked “Submit” or some variation on that to send my information out into the ether to be reviewed and evaluated by an unknown entity. From all that effort I’ve heard back in response to roughly 30 of those, or about 10 percent.
That is, in a word, disheartening.
More than that, it’s not super constructive. What is it about my application or resume that makes me not the ideal candidate for the job? Why didn’t it even get me past the initial review phase to the point where I warrant an in-person or over-the-phone interview? Was it something about my actual experience? Was my resume formatted in a way that didn’t connect with the hiring manager? Did I not include enough relevant keywords?
The job listing site Ladders recently wrote about just this and offers a few reasons why hiring managers go radio silent in response to resumes and applications. They ranger from the understandable – a lot of applications are often received and people are too busy to respond to everyone – to the more nebulous, like the gut feeling that someone just isn’t a good cultural fit.
That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t allow the job seeker (me, in this scenario) anything to build on. I’m left to make assumptions as to why 90% of the places I’ve applied to have used no answer as their answer. I’ll make uninformed changes to my resume, I’ll change how I respond to certain questions that seem to be asked on every application and the like. As someone who likes to make changes based on data that clearly points in one or the other direction, that’s not a super-comfortable feeling.
I try to take all this in stride, continuing to do what I do. And lately I’ve begun making peace with the idea that a full time job may not be in the offing, that I’m not a full time freelancer who also has a part time job. Basically my life is a series of side hustles that add up to something substantial. So it’s all working out, but the frustration of not hearing any sort of feedback to putting myself out there has been a touch obstacle to surmount.