These days it’s common for an applicant to never hear back from an organization about a job they applied for online. You send your materials off into the black hole of the Internet and hope for some kind of acknowledgment that your resume landed in the right place. Meghan Biro wrote a great piece for Glassdoor about why you may never hear back from some employers.

With the current high unemployment rate, the number of job applicants is unprecedented and some organizations simply can’t handle the volume. Recruiters in a variety of fields have shared that as many as 50% of people applying for jobs are not qualified and automatically disqualified with nary a “thanks but no thanks” response. Most large organizations use talent management software to screen resumes and many resumes are eliminated without ever passing through the hands of a human.

Ms. Biro has boiled it down to 5 reasons why you may never hear back after applying for a job:

  1. You aren’t really qualified – avoid the disappointment and only apply for positions where you can honestly meet the requirements. The company is trying to weed out unqualified candidates so don’t waste your time or theirs.
  2. You haven’t word optimized your resume or application – those software scanning devices use the exact words from the job description so be wise and use those very words in your materials if you want to be noticed. You MUST customize your materials for each opportunity. A one-size-fits-all resume will never get through the scanning software.
  3. Your resume isn’t formatted properly – avoid tables, templates and programs with distinctive formatting. Your resume needs to get back to basics in order to be read by the scanning software. Stick to Word versions since often PDFs can’t be read and most organizations won’t take time to convert your resume file.
  4. Your resume is dramatically different than your online profile – yes, the HR folks are checking out your online presence – especially LinkedIn. Make sure your profiles are up to date and match your resume. Tell the truth and keep all your social media sites current. If it’s online, it’s fair game so scrub inappropriate material accordingly.
  5. The company got 500 resumes for one job posting – and your resume just happened to be 499th in the pile and they filled the position before even getting to review your application. It’s a dog eat dog world and finding a job is a full time job. Check back after you apply to see if the job status has changed online and move on to the next opportunity after you apply for something so you don’t waste time waiting to hear back.

Bottom line, network, be seen, be heard, and know your value add in the job quest. Empower your network to let them know how they can help you and be ready to reciprocate by paying-it-forward.