Not Hearing Back After Submitting an Application: What’s Next?

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As soon as you found the post, you knew this was the perfect job for you, so you pulled out all the stops. You didn’t just use a template resume and cover letter—You crafted both documents from the ground up with only this employer in mind. You got some editing help, and then you submitted your application through the proper channels without missing a single step. And then…nothing. At this point, three weeks have gone by without a single acknowledgement from your recipients.

So what happened? Were you officially rejected or did your application simply get sent to the wrong inbox? And if you were rejected, should you ask why? Most important: are there any steps you can take at this point to salvage your chances of landing the job? Keep these considerations in mind.

There’s no harm in following up.

Some job seekers hesitate to contact a silent employer because they don’t want to seem rude, pushy or overeager. But think about this for a minute. If these employers reject you because you had the audacity to reach out and ask about the status of your application, they certainly won’t be very pleasant to work for. (And chances are, they won’t be in business for very long.) No legitimate employer will slam the door on your application because you called on the phone or sent an email to ask if you’re still in the running. Just reach out and get some answers.

Responding to an unofficial rejection.

Most of the time (as you’ll discover when you make your follow-up call), radio silence from an employer simply means that the job attracted a mountain of applications and the employers did not have the ability to respond to each one personally. It may also mean that the position closed—or had already been staffed—by the time you sent in your resume. If either of these possibilities seem likely, just shake off your disappointment and turn your attention back to your search.

Responding to an official rejection.

On the other hand, if you contact the employers and they tell you that, yes, your resume was received, read, considered, and rejected, feel free to ask why. If you receive an answer, take it to heart and make appropriate adjustments to your search as you move forward. If your employers can’t or won’t tell you why you were passed over, recognize that they may be legally barred from sharing this information, and politely thank them for considering you.

If you can provide additional information that may change your fate, do so. If you can’t, and your employers seem interested in closing the lines of communication, say goodbye gracefully and let this opportunity go. Keep searching until you find the job that’s right for you. For guidance and support, turn to the Little Rock staffing team at CSS.

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