Not heard back after your job application?
Job search efforts don't always pay off. We may not always get the responses that we want. Some people choose to rant and rave on websites like LinkedIn, about how unfairly they have been treated by recruiters and how their application which took hours and hours has slipped into a black hole of disrespect.
I understand 100% the temptation to rant and rave! We've all been ignored or felt full of questions and it can feel soul-destroying. So we think we're being efficient when we put progressively less effort into our applications and then wonder why we don't get any invitations to interviews. Then we decide that the whole process is rubbish, or worse, that we are rubbish. We find ourselves losing confidence. We scowl and blame the world for things not going our way.
It is all too easy to find 100 things to battle with every day. We don't even have to seek out bad news, it's what sells newspapers. But that would mean we give up precious mental space to the negative.
Whether you've been faced with redundancy, are seeking a new career path or just feel it's time for a change, finding ways to remain positive throughout your job search will help you stay on track.
How to stay positive about your job search
Negativity is the wrong fuel for a role-finding journey.
What does pay off is feeling that we have represented ourselves well, no matter what the outcome is. It's important to feel we have done ourself proud, that we have not given up. That we have remained sane and ready for tomorrow.
Giving up on something meaningful kills our confidence. Doing something bigger than we thought we could manage, something that is outside our comfort zone brings confidence.
If we chose to focus on only that which make us feel low, angry, frustrated or negative in some way, it would be very difficult to feel positive. Feeding our negative emotions creates a downward spiral. Mentally stepping away from things/people/situations/thoughts that make us feel bad is a skill that requires a fair bit of effort, especially at the beginning. Choosing not to respond to bad news or injustice does require effort for us humans.
Responding to injustice
Not responding to injustice seems counter-intuitive as we assume that not expressing our anger means that we are not expressing ourselves, that we are not being authentic or true to ourselves. That we are playing small, that we should be more courageous and stand up for what is right. That we should rant and rave and let it all out! Yes, we can rant and rave but only for a short while, not on LinkedIn, a public platform where future employers and colleagues reside.
We can be discerning about what injustices we wish to fight, but may I suggest the lack of interview feedback is not one of them. (Unless that has become our life's new mission and we wish to change the face of HR from within.) Freeing up our mental filing cabinets to make room for more uplifting, creative thoughts is far more empowering.
We are the ones responsible for how we respond, for our emotions. I know that's hard to hear. We can't expect to be in control of external things. COVID-19 has shown that. But we can rely on how - and where and for how long - we respond. If we keep our distance from things that (we know will) make us feel rubbish, we feel more in control of our emotions.
After sending an application, an hour, a day, a week or a month feels like a lifetime when we are anxiously waiting. And far too often (unless you employ clever application techniques) we are not going to get satisfying responses or perhaps any responses at all.
Waiting is passive and gives away our energy to an external decision that we are unable to control. Waiting feels distracting and saps our energy levels.
Email template to personalise
If you have not heard back after two weeks after your application, in order to stop the distracting wondering, you might just want to make a second - polite - attempt at getting some response. Doing this may generate a response but importantly it will help you to feel like you've done as much as you can to proceed with this application, and that fact alone will allow you to move forward.
Below is an example email template that you can personalise.
Note: Do not send this to anyone who was not the recipient of your original application. You want to avoid your message getting lost due to a lack of ownership. If you applied through a portal/online system, of course, you still made the effort to find out the name of the most appropriate recipient, didn't you...?
Subject: [Role Title follow up] (avoid the word "application")
Hello [Name of the recipient on your original Cover Letter]
[Company Name] is [something complimentary] and I am very keen to work as a [Job Title] in the [Department/Team Name]. I applied a few weeks ago and admit I am disappointed not to hear back.
As I'm sure you can appreciate, you are in a rare position to answer one question. I would really value your honesty and promise not to take up any more of your time because I respect your heavy workload.
If there is a similar [Job Title] role within [Company Name] in the future, apart from having a relevant background, what is the main factor that would motivate you to interview a candidate?
Thank you so much in advance for this information which I will refer to in the future.
[Your phone number] (in case the person who answers prefers not having their suggestion in writing)
Doors only open if you knock. So keep knocking! How loudly and how often you knock depends on the context but one loud knock is more effective than several quiet ones. And the loudest knock would be making a phone call instead of email, so do consider this if you are confident taking this approach.
So, let me finish by saying that you can either wait for the world to change or you can create opportunities - and you never know what opportunity you can create tomorrow. And if you would like some guidance in applying for job roles and some support while you navigate the process, then you might consider working with a professional career coach.