100 Applications but still no replies?! Here's Maybe Why


Have you submitted dozens of job applications and are not quite doing enough to get a job interview? It can be incredibly frustrating and demotivating but don’t worry, finding a job is not an easy undertaking and many people are in the same situation. It may be time to take a step back, regroup and adjust your approach so you can find a job you’ll love.

1. Focus your job search

Tens of thousands of new job opportunities get uploaded onto the web every day. There’s a lot of choices but also a lot of competition for each position.

You should:

Filter your searches to identify jobs that you can realistically get. Match these to your previous experience or areas that you’re passionate about. If you have no previous experience in the position or industry, consider trying to get an internship to build your skills or focus your time on writing a persuasive cover letter detailing why you’re right for the role.

Be mindful that you may also be overqualified for some roles so be precise in reading the job description.

2. Tailor each application

Employers will outline the requisite skills and experience for the role, and will often list ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’ criteria in their adverts. Aim for your experience and skills to align with at least half of the requirements; and the more, the better.

You should:

Carefully match your own skills and experiences directly to the job criteria, and where you can, use some of the same languages in your application. Make sure you take time to tailor your application for each. If you’re applying for different positions, prepare a cover letter and CV for each type of role and have one or two sentences that you can quickly tailor for specific companies.

And remember, you don’t have to be 100% qualified for the role but you do have to demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion. (You might be interested in Why You Should Apply Anyway, Even If You Aren't "Qualified"

3. Sell yourself

Employers will not spend much longer than a few minutes per application, simply because they will have tens, maybe hundreds of applications to review. Like all of us, they will be attracted to and will spend more time, on things that are easy to read and well presented.

You should:

Make sure your CV looks professional. Don’t be shy in highlighting your achievements and your skills. If you don’t do it, no-one will. Use a 3-4 sentence introduction at the top of your CV which succinctly explains your skills, experience and why you’re right for the role. Use ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ and consider using active verbs to create greater impact.

4. Timing is important

Employers will not accept late applications. It will also be clear to them when a job application has been rushed.

You should: Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application and be prepared to go through a few drafts…you won’t always get it right the first time. As a final check, ask a friend to critically review your application before you press send. A fresh pair of eyes will identify errors and/or suggest improvements to your drafting. It is easier to edit than it is to write.

5. Following up

You may not hear back from a potential employer for a few weeks after submitting your application. Employers are busy and reading applicants’ CVs is not always at the top of the to–do–list.

You should: First, ensure your application has been received by the employer.

If the job had a set deadline, wait for seven days; and two weeks if there was no closing date before sending a follow-up email confirming that you made an application on such a date and that you would welcome the opportunity for a job interview. Perseverance is positive, it shows that you are keen on the role. But be careful not to step over the line…being too pushy will put those recruiting you off.

Final words

These are some easy steps for you to consider when you make your next application. Finding the right type of job that fits well with your experience and skills will help improve your chances of being called to an interview. And working on presentations and communicating your skills in a positive and easy to read manner will make it easier for an employer to put you on the ‘yes’ pile. With a bit of luck, you will need to start reading top tips on getting through the interview process! (You might be interested in [【The Ultimate Interview Preparation Checklist】)

Naomi Chan

Career Coach and professional career hacker at Team Vanna

3 min read

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