The #1 reason you're not getting callbacks after job applications

2023-11-27 by Andrej Tusicisny


Job hunting can feel like shouting into the void. You spend hours meticulously crafting your resume, only to be met with silence. It is a story I have heard time and again from job seekers all over the U.S. Alex, a program manager, told me "getting a response" was the hardest part of his job search. Despite over 100 job applications and 15 years of experience, Alex only heard back from roles where he had an internal referral.

My conversations with fellow hiring managers revealed a common culprit: the generic resume, not tailored to the job description. To give you a real-life example, I was once hiring a software engineer to build low-latency software using the programming language called C++. Most resumes I received listed C++, but very few mentioned experience with low latency applications. Guess who got interviewed first?

Despite the clear benefits of this extra work, job seekers rarely tailor their resume to the job description. For example, Isaac, an accomplished sales director, customized just 10 percent of his resumes. Unsurprisingly, those 90 job applications yielded only 9 job interviews. Johannes, another director, estimated he tailored 20-30 out of 65 resumes - and got 20 interviews.

So why aren't people tailoring their resumes more often? As Hazel, in the middle of a career transition, explained: "Customization of the resume takes forever." She told me it can take her 2-3 days to tailor one resume. Charlotte, who used to manage a recruiting team at Google, pointed out that even after all that effort, there is no guarantee of an interview.

But there is some good news: generative artificial intelligence is changing the game. With AI resume review services like the one from JobSearch.Coach, tailoring your resume just got a whole lot easier. JobSearch.Coach analyzes the job description, the company's culture, their business goals, and even the words they prefer. Then it suggests personalized resume edits.

For instance, it gave a dental assistant candidate this tip that took only seconds to apply:

Screenshot AI resume review missing certification

And it is not just about matching skills and qualifications. The AI also checks for cultural fit. See this advice for someone applying for a job at a cryptocurrency exchange:

Screenshot AI resume review cultural fit

An ATS resume check flags missing skills or keywords that would get a resume auto-rejected by an applicant tracking system:

Screenshot ATS keyword check

Users love the specific, actionable feedback. Alex appreciated the prioritized keyword list for easy copy-pasting. Dave, a UX researcher, said the editorial suggestions make a real difference: "I've tried a handful of AI resume tools, like Teal and other resume builders. But it was just keyword scanning." Jordan, a recruiter, also raved about the suggested edits: "I like it shows the example of a revised summary section. That's awesome. I like the revised summary a lot better than what I wrote."

If you do not hear back from potential employers, artificial intelligence might just be the edge you need to get your resume noticed and land that next interview. Chances are, other applicants are already using it.

All the first names have been changed to protect people's privacy.