By Bryan Fisher
Have you ever applied for a job that you knew you were a perfect fit for only to never hear back from that association? The reasons why you don’t hear back range from the logical to the downright wrong.
- Your resume didn’t match the job description nor did it quantify your accomplishments. The biggest mistake is candidates don’t accurately describe their experience in a manner that matches the job’s requirements, and they don’t clearly quantify the their accomplishments. Tip: Customize your resume to the match the job description. Ask yourself what experience and accomplishments would the executive director or search committee be looking for? Put that information in your resume.
- The position you applied too isn’t really open. Occasionally organizations advertise positions that don’t exist. This can happen when they want to build a reservoir of candidates. This might occur when they’re bidding on a contract they hope to win, or when they have a continuing need for candidates with the same sets of skills. Tip: It may still be worth applying to these positions because once you apply, your resume may be submitted into the association’s applicant tracking system and a recruiter may be doing a search weeks, months, or years later and they may come across your resume and reach out to you.
- The executive director or search committee has someone else in mind. Many times when a position opens up a search committee may already know who it wants to hire and the position is just open so that it can go through the motions of the hiring process. Tip: Be proactive in your job search and build your network with staff who work at associations or nonprofits you want to work for so that when they do open up a position they will either think of you or you can reach out to the directly.
- No one is checking on who is applying to open positions. Sometimes organizations are simply too busy or have more than enough candidates interested in a position that they may stop reviewing resumes of recent applicants.
- The backdoor reference check. A back door reference check means the executive director or search committee plans to secretly check up on a candidate. The candidate has no idea who will be contacted as a reference, or even that this reference checking is underway. And to make matters worse, the information the association gathers could be completely inaccurate. This can happen at any stage during the hiring process.
- The recruiter was inexperienced. Inexperienced recruiters may pass over resumes that are perfect, or they may lack clarity about what the association is looking for.
- A deal might already be in the works. This actually happened to me once; I was applying for a job and I phone interviewed with the recruiter who then told me that they just sent a candidate in for a second interview and they want to wait to see how that interview works out before they send anyone else over. I must admit I was floored. My resume was never sent over to the hiring manager. I was kept out of a job that I was a great fit for because the recruiter didn’t want to ruin what she already had going.
Bryan Fisher is a career consultant and CEO of the Career Empowerment Group. His book, an Insider’s Guide To Getting a Job: Tips, Secrets, and Strategies from a Corporate Recruiter, was released in April 2012.