Top reasons recruiters are not responding to your job application

Top reasons recruiters are not responding to your job application

I hear these complaints on a daily basis from many clients who are about to embark on a coaching journey. Why are recruiters not responding to my application? What is wrong with my CV? What is wrong with my LinkedIn profile?

Have you also experienced radio silence after sending endless applications? If so, even if you think your CV is perfect, keep on reading as these tips may surprise you.

CV-related issues

Here are some CV-related issues you may want to think about:

You have one CV you send for all job postings

Although you might have a well-written CV which shows lots of valuable and relevant experience, chances are that the new job you are applying for is slightly different from the previous one. Having only one version of your CV is very candidate-centric, which is a good approach when there are endless job opportunities and companies are fighting for talent. However, in all other cases, I always say: you need to update your CV every time you send a new job application.

Your CV is not optimised for the right keywords

That brings me to the second point, which is that your CV is not optimised for the right keywords. Even if you have changed your CV for a particular job, have you checked if the most important requirements are expressed on your CV using the right keywords? I have seen hundreds of CVs - from great ones to really poor ones - and even the great ones every now and then are missing the right keywords.

So, why do I make such a fuss about those keywords? I don’t know if you realise this but nowadays with the digitalisation of our world, before your CV is going to be read by a human, it first will be read by ATS - Applicant Tracking System. ATS scans your CV for the right keywords and if doesn’t pass a certain number of those, even if you are a great candidate, it is not going to be selected, so no actual human being will see that you CAN do that job and invite you to a job interview.


Here are some LinkedIn issues you should be aware of when searching for a job in the Netherlands:

Your LinkedIn profile is outdated or incomplete

In the Netherlands (and not just the Netherlands), recruiters heavily rely on LinkedIn when it comes to the job search process. For a lot of jobs, you need to apply via LinkedIn, so it is obvious that your profile will be checked. But even if you’re submitting your application directly to the company or via their portal, chances are extremely high that your LinkedIn profile will be checked. And lastly, recruiters actively use LinkedIn to find new candidates for jobs that might not even be advertised yet (or ever). So, believe me: what you have on your profile matters a lot!

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the biggest mistakes you can make on your profile and how to fix them.

Your location is outside of the recruiters’ search

I want to add this point, as many applicants do not think about it. When recruiters are searching for the right candidates, of course they select the relevant keywords and skills, but often location is an important criterion as well. In case you have moved to the Netherlands recently, make sure to update your location immediately on LinkedIn. Otherwise, your profile will be outside of their search range.

Of course, it also happens that recruiters are looking for very specific skills and if they do not find it locally, they will extend the search abroad, but they don’t do this for all types of jobs, so be mindful of this point.

Cover letter

Also, don't forget about your cover letter and avoid the following pitfalls:

Your cover letter is generic and you used “cliché” language

A cover letter is not always required when applying. More and more often I see that companies are asking for cover letters in form of a video, however, if you are sending one, make sure it is just like your CV, so geared towards the job you are applying for. The best way to do this is to select three of the most important aspects / responsibilities of the job that you are applying for and clearly illustrate by using your past experience how you believe you can be successful in the new position.

Remember that even with ATS, recruiters scan hundreds of CVs daily, and it is a tiring job. The best way you can help them - and yourself - is by clearly building a bridge between past and future responsibilities. In other words, make it not a candidate-centric letter but a future-job-centric letter.

Other issues

Obviously, there are also other reasons why you are not getting any responses, and some may have nothing to do with you. This might be frustrating, but I just want you to know that it is not always your fault. Sometimes, it is just the job market or other aspects you might not be aware of, such as:

There are too many candidates for the job

The first one is simple - there are too many candidates for the job you applied for, and recruiters have plenty to choose from. If you sense this might be the case, I suggest not only relying on an internet-based job search but also on building a solid network (online and offline).

The internal candidate got a preference

Although there are lots of jobs advertised out there, for some there are already “warm” internal candidates lined up. Again, you can’t do anything about this, aside what I have already mentioned: build a strong network.

People are not referring you

This is a very crucial point. You might be thinking that the only way to get a job is through an internet search and simply applying to the jobs that are out there. Pause and listen to this: the easiest way to get into a hiring process is to get an internal employee’s referral. More and more companies rely on this method to recruit their talent.

Why? There are three important reasons for that:

  • People who you know and who refer you will vouch for you internally
  • People who will suggest you are motivated by a referral fee
  • The company can be more confident that you are a cultural fit

Again, I have to mention that I cannot stress enough how important it is to focus on building a good quality network of people who can help you get a job!

You are not alone

The job searching and applying process can be very energy draining, so always make sure you have a clear plan and strategy in place and remember you can always ask for help if you are struggling.

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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