Have you gone weeks, if not months, without any sort of responses to your resume? There could be other mechanical issues on the resume creating this problem for you. However, the thought that HR might be purposely ignoring your resume has probably crossed your mind at one point or another. It is a known fact that HR people tend to ignore resumes completely and they seem to disappear into thin air without a trace and no reply at all. This creates a racing mind of thoughts and leaves a prospective candidate wondering why.
This is not to say you aren’t a strong candidate – but why would HR completely ignore a resume? Are they too busy? Are they not interested in meeting with you? Do they think your resume is ugly? There are a number of possibilities as to why your resume is being ignored by HR departments. One reason could be they don’t like what they see and another could be they just simply don’t have the time respond to everyone.
It’s hard to believe that anyone in an HR position who has the ability to make a decision about a job is too busy to find 30 seconds out of their day to shoot over an e-mail telling you whether you’ve got a chance at it or not. If they’re really that rude to applicants, would you really want to work there anyway? For the sake of complaining, let’s just say they are total inconsiderate jerks for not at least letting candidates know they are not interested in hiring them.
But in HR’s defense, they are extremely overwhelmed. May HR departments have realized many cutbacks with the average staff now at 9.2 employees, down from 13 in 2007, according to a recent poll taken by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It’s not that people in HR are unsympathetic to your dilemma since many of them know how tough it is being unemployed for any given amount of time. I mean, they are in HR for crying out loud. They hear the stories all day, every day!
SHRM conducted another survey, this time of HR professionals who’d been out of work (85% due to layoffs) in 2009, and found that of those who recently found a new job, 47% had been job hunting for 6 to 12 months, and another 27% had been looking for longer than a year. Among those who were still unemployed when SHRM conducted its poll, only 18% expected to find work within six months; 43% thought they’d have to search for a year or more.
Among those hired in 2009 after a lengthy search, almost half (49%) said they liked their new jobs less than the ones they had lost. The survey didn’t ask why, but my guess would be overwork. HR departments are swamped with resumes, sometimes getting hundreds or even thousands at a time for every available position in the company. Now compare that to only 9.2 average HR people having to sift through these documents, and you do the math. Your carefully crafted resumes are buried somewhere in paper mountain, and HR is struggling to keep up, let alone give each candidate the kind of individual attention that he or she deserves.
So how do you overcome this obstacle as a job seeker? Justin Olsen, Senior Resume Writer and Career Coach at Careers Plus Resumes, says that, instead of sending resumes to HR, you should send them via email or regular mail to an executive at the company one or two levels above the hiring manager for the position you are targeting. Granted, that person is likely to be extremely busy too, so he or she will send you to the person one or two steps down (HR), but things seem to travel down the food chain more easily than up.
After you’ve sent your resume, wait a few days, then follow up with a phone call to find out who has it and ask if you can schedule an interview. Be persistent and aggressive in your job search. This shows confidence and HR/executives will always remember the candidate who harassed them the most.