What’s worse than hearing “Thanks for applying but we’ve decided to go with another candidate”?
Not hearing anything at all! Ever. Nothing. Zilch. It feels so rude, right? You put a lot of time into that cover letter AND spruced up your resume AND researched their company. The least they could do is send you a quick email so you can just move on if you’re not the right candidate.
In a perfect world, yes.
There are many reasons why employers don’t always get back to candidates - lack of time, changing job requirements, internal hiring. Let’s talk about ways that you might improve your odds of hearing back because the job search is, in part, a numbers game.
TARGET YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER - In the first paragraph of your cover letter, you can include a sentence or two about why you are specifically interested in that company or that job. The more specific you are, the better. Your resume should also reflect your skills and experience that are relevant to the position. Use the job description to look for keywords that you can mirror in your resume to describe your experiences.
ATTEND EVENTS - Any time you can have an interaction with an employer that will allow them to get to know you beyond just your resume, take advantage! This might include Career Center events at UVA, conferences, or other on-line events, webinars, and workshops.
APPLY EARLY - Be one of the first people to apply, not one of the last. Employers will likely start looking at resumes as soon as they come in. The “deadline” you see in Handshake doesn’t mean wait until the last minute to apply. Apply to new positions as soon as you see them posted.
FOLLOW UP - If you haven’t heard back. If it’s been a couple of weeks and you haven’t heard anything, send a quick email that just says something like “I applied for the XYZ position at your company and I’m excited about the opportunity to apply my skills in this position. I’m looking forward to hearing about the next steps in the process.”
If you need help finding a good email address to use, check out CareerShift. It’s a contact database that is in the resource section of Handshake (From Handshake homepage > Career Center > Resources). Use the contact database to search the name of the company and job title “recruiter”. You’ll be amazed at what you find - I promise!
The Engineering Career Center can help you find a follow up email address as well. Just let us know the company you’re reaching out to and we’ll see if we have a good contact for you.
NETWORK - Use VAM (Virginia Alumni Mentoring) and LinkedIn to look for UVA alums who are working at the company you’re wanting to hear back from. You can let them know that you’ve applied for a position with their company and are excited about the opportunity. Ask if they have any recommendations for how you might make your application stand out.
TAKE LINKEDIN SERIOUSLY - Having a complete LinkedIn profile will indicate that you are serious about your search. LinkedIn has lots of tools that allow you to add information that isn’t covered in your resume and their algorithms reward people whose profiles are complete. Make sure the skills section is filled out - LinkedIn likes for people to use the skills section.
Also, follow the company on LinkedIn so you can stay up to date on any news. You can also follow individual recruiters for each company you’re interested in.
SCRUB YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA - Employers will search for your social media profiles. Make sure yours is presentable!
MOST IMPORTANTLY - Don’t take the silence personally! The job search can at times be exhausting, demoralizing, and eat away at your confidence. It is a very imperfect process and that has nothing to do with you as a person. We want you to know that you can do it and our office is here to help you! Stay focused and keep applying - each application gets you closer to your goal!