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How To Pull Yourself Out of Job Search Purgatory


How To Pull Yourself Out of Job Search Purgatory

You’ve applied to a job that you’re the perfect fit for. Your resume looks good, you have all your skills and experiences in one neat little row, and the employer would be insane not to at least reach out to you for an interview.


But nothing happens. By nothing, we mean you got no communication at all. There was no rejection, no signs of the position being filled, nothing. You double check, and confirm you sent the application. So what happened?


You have entered job search purgatory, also known as the job search black hole. It was like you threw your application into the void, and it’s just floating there. What should you do? Should you follow up? Should you try applying for other jobs?


Job search purgatory happens, but it’s possible to escape it. Here’s how.

Find Out The Size of The Company

If you’re applying for a bigger company, they may have been flooded with applications.


This can mean that it could take weeks, maybe months, for them to review your application and get back to you. Sometimes, they’ve been flooded with so much that they forget to tell you they’ve hired someone else.


By knowing the size of the company you’re applying to, you can be able to see if it’s common for the process to take so long.

Follow Up, But Don’t Go Overboard

Sometimes, following up with the company can remind them that you sent out an application. Plus, it shows you’re eager to work. If you sent out an application and it didn’t get a response, try contacting the company.


Now, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. First, see if the company has a department where you can contact for this specific inquiry. Don’t call the first number you see, or walk into the company uninvited.


Also, while nudging the company is fine, calling them constantly makes you seem like a stalker, and then the company definitely won’t hire you. If the first few times they seem wishy-washy about hiring, take the hint and try somewhere else. In the perfect world, companies would just tell you no, but the world doesn’t work that way.

See if You Overlooked Certain Application Instructions

With any job post, you need to read the post carefully. Not only does this prove you pay attention, but there may be a special way to apply that you overlooked.


Maybe they use a certain email address, or you have to send it to a particular apartment. Sometimes you have to use a certain keyword in the application to prove that you’ve followed instructions.


We’re not saying you’re a bad listener if you forgot to follow instructions—sometimes people get eager and overlook something in their race to be the first one to apply. But you need to read the instructions carefully or your applications may be automatically filtered and sent into purgatory.

Proofread Your Resume

Another filter a recruiter may use is looking for grammatical mistakes. You know that spelling and grammar is important, and righting ur lettr lik dis is going to get an instant rejection, but even the most grammatically aware can make a typo or spelling error. One reason for that is the over-reliance on spell-check software.


These can detect spelling/grammatical errors quite well, but they overlook plenty of mistakes. Proofreading your resume is a must when sending it out. Get a second pair of eyes to look over it, too. It’s difficult to correct your own writing, as you tend to be biased against it. Just one faux pas is enough for your employer to stop reading and throw your application in the bin.


We can’t stress it enough. You need good references to be able to get the job. Someone vouching for you during the recruiting process can help get your application noticed. Now, some people are born with references, while other have to earn them. Make a LinkedIn profile and try to befriend anyone who is in the company. They can help hold the door for you as you’re trying to enter.

If All Else Fails, Keep Applying

There’s going to be a point in your life where you send out the application and it doesn’t go anywhere. If all else fails, try another job. By focusing on one opportunity, you’re letting others fly by, and those others can be a better fit.


Try applying to a diverse list of jobs. Apply to jobs across the country, hit up your local job board and try to get something with a sense of community, just cast your hooks all around.

Job search purgatory is no good, but you have to look at the other side too. With a flood of applications, you need to do something to stand out, so do that.



Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.



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