8 reasons why recruiters are not responding to your job application

8 reasons why recruiters are not responding to your job application

My clients who are about to embark on their coaching journey often have the same complaints. Why are recruiters not responding to my application? What is wrong with my CV? What is wrong with my LinkedIn profile?

Have you also experienced radio silence after sending out endless applications? If so, take a look at these tips. Even if you think your CV is perfect, some of them might surprise you. 

Issues with your CV

Take a look at your CV and check whether any of these issues are present. 

You use the same CV for every job application

Although you might have a well-written CV that shows lots of valuable and relevant experience, chances are that each job you are applying for is slightly different. 

Having only one version of your CV is very candidate-centric, which is a good approach when there are endless job opportunities and companies are fighting for talent. However, in all other cases, I always say: you need to update your CV every time you send a new job application.

Your CV is not optimised for the right keywords

Even if you have tailored your CV to suit a particular job, have you checked if the most important requirements are expressed on your CV using the right keywords? I have seen hundreds of CVs - from great ones to really poor ones - and even the great ones every now and then are missing the right keywords.

So, why do I make such a fuss about keywords? I don’t know if you realise this, but in today’s digital world, before your CV is read by a human, it is first read by an ATS - Applicant Tracking System. ATS scans your CV for the right keywords and, if it doesn't show enough, even if you are a great candidate, it is not going to be selected. No actual human being will see that you CAN do that job and invite you to a job interview.

Problems with your LinkedIn profile

Now to LinkedIn. Here are some mistakes you should watch out for if you are applying for a job in Germany. 

Your LinkedIn profile is outdated or incomplete

In many countries, recruiters heavily rely on LinkedIn when it comes to the job search process. For a lot of jobs, you need to apply via LinkedIn, so it is obvious that your profile will be checked. But even if you’re submitting your application directly to the company or via their portal, chances are extremely high that your LinkedIn profile will be checked. And lastly, recruiters actively use LinkedIn to find new candidates for jobs that might not even be advertised yet (or ever). So, believe me: what you have on your profile matters a lot!

In a previous article, I wrote about the biggest mistakes you can make on your LinkedIn profile and how to fix them.

Your location is outside of the recruiters’ remit

I want to add this point, as many applicants do not think about it. When recruiters are searching for the right candidates, of course they select the relevant keywords and skills, but often location is an important criterion as well. In case you have moved to Germany recently, make sure to update your location immediately on LinkedIn. Otherwise, your profile will be outside of their search range.

Of course, it also happens that recruiters are looking for very specific skills and if they do not find it locally, they will extend the search abroad, but they don’t do this for all types of jobs, so be mindful of this point.

Potential issues with your cover letter

When it comes to your cover letter, try to avoid the following pitfalls:

Your cover letter is generic and uses “cliché” language

A cover letter is not always required when applying. However, if you are sending one, make sure it is just like your CV, so specifically geared towards the job you are applying for. The best way to do this is to select three of the most important responsibilities of the job that you are applying for and clearly illustrate how you can be successful in the position, using your past experience. 

Remember that, even with ATS, recruiters scan hundreds of CVs daily, and it is a tiring job. The best way you can help them - and yourself - is by clearly building a bridge between past and future responsibilities. In other words, make it not a candidate-centric letter but a future-job-centric letter.

Other issues

There may also be other reasons why you are not getting any responses. Some of them might even have nothing to do with your or your application. This might be frustrating, but I just want you to know that it is not always your fault. Sometimes, it is just the job market or other aspects you might not be aware of, such as:

There are too many candidates for the job

The first one is simple - there are too many candidates for the job you applied for, and recruiters have plenty to choose from. If you sense this might be the case, I suggest not only relying on an internet-based job search but also on building a solid network (online and offline).

An internal candidate got a preference

Although there are lots of jobs on offer out there, some of them already have “warm” internal candidates lined up. Again, you can’t do anything about this, aside from what I have already mentioned: build a strong network.

People are not referring you

This is a very crucial point. You might be thinking that the only way to get a job is through an internet search and simply applying to the jobs that are out there. Pause and listen to this: the easiest way to get into a hiring process is to get an internal employee’s referral. More and more companies rely on this method to recruit their talent.

Why? There are three important reasons for that:

  • People who you know and who refer you will vouch for you internally
  • People who will suggest you are motivated by a referral fee
  • The company can be more confident that you are a cultural fit

Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to focus on building a good quality network of people who can help you get a job!

You are not alone

The job searching and applying process can be very draining, so always make sure you have a clear plan and strategy in place and remember you can always ask for help if you are struggling.

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in the Netherlands.

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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