Do you remember the angst of pre-social media dating? You meet someone you’d like to get to know better. You think you’ve made a good first impression, so you risk giving out your (real!) phone number. And then you wait. And you wait some more. And eventually—after hearing NOTHING—you give up hope.

Job hunting can have a similarly frustrating feel. You send off your résumé to a job posting that seems perfect for you, and . . . nothing. What’s up with that?

Like in dating, here’s a real possibility: It’s not you. It’s them.

Maybe it’s not you

While you may never know exactly why you weren’t called for an interview, here are possibilities that have nothing to do with you or your résumé:

  • Position filled. Sometimes the hiring manager already knows who she plans to hire. Maybe it’s an internal applicant or someone known to the powers-that-be through networking. In these cases, posting the job fulfills an HR policy or contract guideline but an outsider won’t likely be seriously considered.
  • Organizational changes. Unexpected reorganizations, budget adjustments, and hiring freezes can eliminate the need to fill a position that was previously advertised.
  • Position nonexistent. Some headhunters troll for résumés by placing ads for fictional positions in hopes of filling their pipeline for future contracts.
  • Inefficiency. Sadly, some organizations are so disorganized or tied to bureaucratic processes that many weeks or even months can pass between the time a job is posted and applicants are contacted.
  • Employer biases. Maybe the hiring manager is a Clemson fan, and you’re an Alabama grad. Maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe he’s a misogynist who only hires men, or he’s an ageist who won’t consider someone he thinks is too young or too old.

In all of these cases, it’s not you. It’s them.

Then again, maybe it is you (or, at least, your résumé)

It’s possible, of course, that it is you. Maybe your résumé got the HR equivalent of a “swipe left” and was rejected after just a passing glance. Any idea why? Consider this:

  • Does your résumé convey a good match between your background and the stated requirements?
  • Are your strengths obvious?
  • Is your résumé rich in keywords?
  • Does your resume clearly highlight past accomplishments?
  • Is your value clear?

If you answer “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, contact me. Whether your résumé needs simple formatting tweaks or an entire rewrite, I can help.