Q. I recently applied for a job advertised on Monster.com. I sent a cover letter with my resume as an attachment following their request in the posting. It's been a few weeks and I've not heard back so I sent a follow up letter reiterating my interest and confirming that my resume was received . Still no response. Should I give up and move on, assuming the position has been filled or should I try one more time, hoping the Human Resource Dept. will respond to my emails?
A. I am sorry to say that your experience is pretty common, especially in our current economic climate. In Massachusetts, our current unemployment rate is just about 7 percent, the highest it has been in more than a decade. Employers will post a job, and literally hundreds - sometimes thousands - of applicants apply. Many of the candidates are qualified but many are not. Many candidates are blasting their resumes to any/all open opportunities listed on job boards in hopes that somehow the employer will contact them, even if not for this particular role. I am sure that you have heard this from fellow job seekers. "It wasn't what I really wanted, but I would take it to get my foot in the door." Or "At least I know they have my resume, in case an opening becomes available in XYZ department."
When these resumes are received, the HR team is often responsible for screening and reviewing all of these candidates. And to be quite frank, the HR team may not have adequate resources and people-power to contact all candidates. Right now many of my clients are including a tag line in their print and online advertisements stating: "Due to the expected volume of resumes received for this position, only candidates of interest will be contacted. No phone calls please." What the employer is trying to convey is that they will only contact the candidates that they are interested in and others unfortunately will not hear back from them. And also, there is a subtle message of "don't call us, we'll call you."
A few additional pieces of advice though:
1. Do you know anyone connected or working within this company? Could you perhaps contact that connection to try to determine the status of the open position? An employee or vendor of the company may be helpful.
2. Never, ever put all of your eggs in one basket. Even if you think this role is the perfect fit for you and your skill set, do NOT stop your job search. A job can be put on hold. An opening can be transferred out of state. The employer can decide that this position can be outsourced. So don't stop or suspend your search hoping to hear back from an employer.
In short, yes, you can email HR one more time asking for an update. I am not optimistic that you will receive a reply. An insider may have more information. And keep searching. It is a tough market but smart and persistent candidates are landing jobs. Don't let his event discourage you. Good luck.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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