Navigating the Resume Black Hole

Employers do not owe you a response to your application for a job. Just because you send a company a response to its job ad, you are not entitled to a response. The term ‘resume black hole’ refers to the frustration some people feel when they don’t get a response to a job application.

It would be really nice if people told you ‘no’ quickly. But, you know how hard it is to actually say ‘no.’ There is nothing pleasant about telling you that you didn’t get the job. Many employers believe there is a legal risk in telling you ‘no.’

The combination of fear of saying no and fear of making legal errors makes it hard to say ‘no’ to job applicants. You won’t hear back unless they want to know more about you. Even then, when it comes time to tell you ‘no,’ the fear of saying ‘no’ will prevail.

From the perspective of a recruiting department, your resume is just one point in a boatload of data. If they responded personally to each applicant who didn’t fit, that’s all they’d ever do. Can you imagine hiring a team of professional no-sayers? It would be awful to work there.

Picture a team of happy elves toiling in a recruiting workshop. “No, no, no, no, nada, nada no,” they’d be chanting. It would be a great place to hire two-year old children. Imagine the joyful giggles as they sang louder. “No, no, no, no, nada, nada no.”

Actual recruiters are not allowed to have that kind of fun. Instead, they are under heavy constant pressure to produce great candidates and get people hired. A recruiter’s annual performance review never measures ‘showing good manners with job applicants.’

What matters most to a working recruiter is filling the job. The time, energy and feelings of a person looking for a job are unimportant. That only changes when a person becomes necessary for the individual recruiters’ success.

Rejection is a Big Part of the Experience: Balance Your Energy Accordingly

You will be treated well for as long as you are a viable contender to the recruiter working the file. No more, no less. Recruiters who excel move through relationships pretty quickly. They can’t afford a lot of vulnerability or intimacy. They don’t make friends with people who apply for jobs.

It doesn’t pay to believe that you will be treated as other than a commodity. Anything but ‘yes,’ stated or unstated, can feel like a rejection. Allowing your hope and optimism to be damaged when you are rejected is a mistake that you can correct.

If you are looking for work, whether or not you are currently employed, rejection is a big part of the experience. For every job they fill, recruiters reject hundreds of applicants after a six-second resume review. If you apply for a job, no matter how much you want it, the odds are quite high (over 99%) that you won’t get it.

Never give more than 20% of your job-hunting efforts to applying for jobs online. The resume black hole exists when people respond to ads on job boards or a company’s employment page. Think of this 20% of your efforts as you were buying lottery tickets. It’s a mistake to plan on winning the lottery. It’s a mistake to plan on getting a response to a job ad.

Most jobs are found through networking. Taking the time to think hard about what you want makes you a better networker. Many people delight in helping someone who asks for help and knows what they are after. Make sure to always give more value than you get.

Job-hunting is a disorienting, ego-deflating exercise. Employers do not owe you a response to your application for a job. Just because you send a reply to a company’s job ad, you are not entitled to a response.

Begin there. Good luck.

Need help fine-tuning your resume? Our resume builder services can help.

Get your free resume critique today.

Related Salary.com Content