If I’m turned down for a job before I reach the interview stage, it’s because employers didn’t like my resume, right? So is it okay for me to contact them and politely ask them where I went wrong?
I submitted a resume a few months ago for the job of my dreams and I haven’t heard back. I can only assume I’ve been tacitly rejected. So since I have nothing to lose, I’d like to contact the employers and ask them why. Can I do this?
It’s okay to reach out to an employer ONCE by phone or email and politely ask why your application didn’t make the cut. But it’s not okay to follow up and ask again if your message isn’t returned. And if you ask your question in a tone that’s hostile, resentful, entitled, or rude, your chances of receiving a response will drop from almost zero to zero.
In other words, you can go ahead and ask this question (it’s a free country, after all), but don’t expect a detailed and meaningful response. If five hundred, ten, or even two people apply for one open position, all the others will be turned away as a result of simple math, not necessarily because of blatant shortcomings in their credentials. Asking employers why they turned you down at an early stage of the process is like a stranger in a crowd asking you why you won’t marry him or her. You simply can’t marry everyone, and you have to draw the line and make decisions based on criteria that are subtle and feelings that you have no obligation to explain.
If you’re lucky, the employer will tell you that your application was incomplete or improperly formatted, and you can correct this problem before your next submission. (Use Free Resume Builder for help.) But most of the time, the employer will simply tell you that they’ve decided to pursue another candidate. In either case, your next move will be the same: You’ll need to get back to the job search and move on.