The Home to Hired Blog

If you're a stay-at-home mom considering a return to the workforce, this blog is your companion every step of the way - from discerning your career direction to preparing your application and addressing your resume gap, this is the perfect place to start.

Cracking the Code: Why you haven’t heard back about your job application

job applications job search Jan 23, 2024
confused mom job searching

Have you been sending out countless job applications only to hear crickets or receive a generic ‘no thanks’ email from every company?  When we pour our time, energy, and heart into our resumes and application materials, it can feel like a rejection when we aren’t invited to interview and it’s easy to take this personally or begin questioning our value and qualifications.  If you’re feeling defeated or discouraged or find yourself asking, “am I enough?” and “do I even have what it takes?”  we’d like to tell you – 1) it’s so common to feel this way and 2) are enough and you have what it takes!  There may actually be several other factors that are impacting your ability to land interviews that have NOTHING to do with how qualified you are or the value you can bring. 

In this post, we are sharing 5 potential reasons that you aren’t landing interviews that have nothing to do with your career break or qualifications.  If you suspect one (or more) of these factors is impacting your applications, we’ve provided some ways you can start problem solving.  Chances are, it has nothing to do with how qualified you are to succeed in the position.  Let’s dive in! 

Reason 1: Your resume isn’t formatted correctly.  Most employers (especially larger companies) who accept online applications use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter applications and identify which candidates are the best fit for their open position.  If your application isn’t formatted in an ATS compatible format, then your resume will never be seen by a recruiter because it will be filtered out as irrelevant to the open job’s requirements.  If you aren’t sure how to format your resume in a way that is ATS compatible and easy for a recruiter to scan, check out our Resume Roadmap for Moms, which is a self-paced online course that includes everything you need to write a dynamic, well-formatted resume. 

Reason 2: You aren’t tailoring your resume to the job description.  Whether your resume is first reviewed by an ATS or a human the content on your resume needs to be tailored to the job description so that it’s clear that you’re a strong fit for the position.  This is also something that we discuss in The Resume Roadmap for Moms – and we provide time-saving guidance so you aren’t stuck re-writing your resume for each application. 

Reason 3: There was a high volume of applications.  In our current job market, if you’re applying for positions that are posted online, it's likely that you’ll be up against a large number of other applicants and it’s easier to get lost in the shuffle.  One way to improve your odds of landing a job is to increase your networking efforts.  Through networking, you can ask people in your network to refer you for posted positions which can differentiate you as a candidate, and importantly, you can also learn about “hidden” jobs. Did you know that 70-80% of all jobs aren’t posted online?  That means the more that you build and engage your network, the more likely you are to learn about opportunities that aren’t posted online - and those jobs tend to be less competitive.  

Reason 4: The job you applied for isn’t actually open. Sometimes employers will post job descriptions on their website to build a candidate pool, but the position isn’t currently open.  That means that there could be a significant delay between the time that you apply and the time that you hear back.  There isn’t always a clear way to tell if a job posting is actively recruiting for an open position, but networking can help you to learn more about open positions.  Even if you apply and don’t hear back right away, you’re in the employer’s system and they may reach out later if you’re a fit for one of their open positions. In the meantime, try to connect with people at your desired company to learn more about the roles they are actively recruiting for. 

Reason 5: An internal candidate was hired into the position.  Some companies have a strong “hire/promote from within” culture to support their employees’ career growth within their company.  That means they may have posted the position for internal and external candidates, but if there are internal candidates in the pool, they are typically offered interviews first.  Again, this has nothing to do with your qualifications, more so, the internal hiring process. 

Hopefully this has demystified the early parts of the hiring process, has helped you understand why you may not be landing job interviews, and has offered you some tangible steps to overcome these challenges.  As you continue your job search journey, try to avoid taking application rejections or ghosting  personally – likelihood is that one or more of these factors are at play and it has nothing to do with HOW qualified you are.  If you’re feeling stuck and want some extra support to help your resume shine, we’d love to review your resume for you through Your Personalized Resume Review, where we will provide a video with customized feedback on your resume to help you cut through the silence and start landing interviews.  We’re with you all the way! 




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