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Simple Job Search Tip: If You Want To Hear Back, Follow Directions!

October 11th, 2011 · 2 Comments

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follow directionsIt’s such a common job search refrain:

“I’ve sent my resume out hundreds of times and I’ve heard nothing back!”

9 times out of 10 though, there’s a simple reason. Want to know what it is? Well, you’ve got to go a bit into the psychology of the hiring manager.

In this job market, when an employer posts a job, she’s likely to get dozens – nay – hundreds of resumes for that posted position. So if you’re that person doing the hiring, you’re looking for any reason to cut that stack of resumes down to size. I mean, realistically, you’re only going to call 3-4 or 10-15 people for interviews, right? So when that stack of resumes hits your desk or your inbox, you’re looking for the quickest and simplest reasons to cul the herd, right?

Now, there are dozens of ways that a hiring manager might weed you out and throw your resume right in the trash. Your resume might be garbage. You might be unqualified for what you’ve applied for. You might even just be too far back in the pile.

But do you know the quickest way your resume hits the trash bin?It’s simple: if you didn’t follow the directions of the job ad.

Every single job ad, be it online, in a newspaper or whatever has 3 components:

  1. The description of the job
  2. The description of the sort of candidate they are looking for, and…
  3. Instructions on how to apply.

Over the years, I’ve seen job seekers fail again and again for no other reason than the fact they they ignored component 3.

The employer will tell you how they want you to apply. Online? Through their website? Through Monster? Via LinkedIn recommendation? Via email? In person? Over the phone? They will tell you in what format, in what time frame and how often you can apply.

If you simply don’t apply in the way they have explicitly asked, I can almost guarantee that your resume and your application will immediately go in the trash.

It’s basic human nature.

I mean, the hiring manager must be thinking this:

“If this job seeker can’t even follow the directions we laid out explicitly in our job ad, then how would I ever assume they’d be good at following directions on the job?”

So don’t make the first (worst) mistake possible when applying for a job. Don’t ignore the instructions in the job ad regarding how to apply.

I know, it seems so simple… so simple as to be stupid. But, especially with online job search, people tend to take a shotgun approach. They apply in every way possible. They submit via monster. They submit via the company website. They email. They call.

Please… for your own sake… don’t.


If spamming people worked for job searching, then it wouldn’t be viagra spam you’d be getting in your email spam box. It would be job applications. In the same way you don’t like spam, which is a solicitation you didn’t want, in a format you didn’t request… it’s just the same for the hiring manager. If a job ad tells you how to apply for a job, follow those instructions to the letter, otherwise you risk giving the hiring manager the easiest reason in the world for deleting your resume.

Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian – How Long Should I Wait To Hear Back? – Some Rules
  2. Retro Job Search Hack- Remember The Fax?
  3. Filling Out Paper Job Applications: Unwritten Etiquette Rules for Requesting and Submitting
  4. Job Search Hack – Double Back On Your Old Job Applications
  5. How To Get Employers To Call You Back – 5 Key Tips
  6. Why Haven’t I Heard Back After The Job Interview?

Tags: Getting Ahead · Job Applications