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So this is something that has been eating me up the past few months. I applied for a position I was well qualified for, and had some of the 'nice to have' skills, but didn't get a call back.

When I phoned the HR person responsible for handling the applications, it sounded as if they were not aware of my application and even took awhile to find my application. I even gave them the date of my email as I applied months before the deadline.

Would it be wrong of me to email the head of department and ask something along the lines of "I applied for this position and didn't get any response. Is there anything I can improve on?" This way I let the person in charge A) Know that I applied B) Come across as someone wanting feedback on how to improve their résumé.

I'd be really disappointed if the reason I didn't get the job is because they may have lost my application.

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    So you applied a couple of month ago and want to follow up now? Why not earlier?
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 9:01
  • 4
    What are you actually attempting to accomplish here? A few months ago is ancient history, just move on to the next opportunity. Aug 10 at 9:02
  • @PhilipKendall Right - That ship has most likely sailed..
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 9:03
  • @iLuvLogix because if they advertise a similar position I want to reapply, but I'd like to know why I didn't get the position the first time around. I. E. I'd like to improve my application.
    – Kendall
    Aug 10 at 9:12
  • @PhilipKendall The goal is to improve. Maybe I get a response informing me that they plan on advertising another position and they encourage me to apply.
    – Kendall
    Aug 10 at 9:16
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Would it be wrong of me to email the head of department and ask something along the lines of "I applied for this position and didn't get any response.

Not "wrong" per se, but pointless and it's not going to endear you to the department head or increase your chances. They won't answer, they'll either ignore it or just forward to HR

his way I let the person in charge A) Know that I applied

The couldn't care less. Dozens if not 100s of people apply every day to a larger department.

B) Come across as someone wanting feedback on how to improve their résumé.

Laudable but impractical. Due to the sheer mass of rejected resumes it's impractical to give feedback to all so the general policy is to give feedback to none.

that has been eating me up the past few months

Get over it. Rejections are an integral part of job search and you will have to make your peace with it. Could be something in your application, but could be also something completely unrelated to you. You will never know.

Here is one of the more likely scenarios: Many companies get dozens if not 100s of resumes a day and most of them are completely unqualified. So the first scanning step is often done by a low-level HR staffer who typically knows very little about the specific job, skills or domain. They just go down the list of requirements and check them off. Best thing you can do is to make that job easy for them: In your cover letter put in a table of requirements from the job description, cross check them with your resume and rate them yourself. Example: "I meet your requirement for experience with formal bug tracking, since I have been using Jira for 5+ years at company XYZ". Do NOT assume that HR knows that Jira is a bug tracking tool.

True story: A manager went to recruiting to complain about the lack of quality of the resumes he was getting from them. Things got a bit heated and he just grabbed a resume from the trash bin (pre e-mail) and yelled "I can do better with this". The resume was a bit unconventional but otherwise good and the applicant got interviewed & hired. The applicant had a very successful career at this company and ended up being my hiring manager that brought me to a different continent.

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I'm afraid that ship has most likely sailed..

"I'd be really disappointed if the reason I didn't get the job is because they may have lost my application"

So let that be a lesson learned for future applications - if you really eager to get a certain gig and don't get a notice back from them, try to follow up after 7 to 14 days via e-mail, phone, racing pigeons or any other communication channel that you could get hold of them..

Edit regarding comments: If it really bugs you why they didn't reply back though your skillset seemed to have met their needs or if you want them to consider you for future openenings - Just contact them after those couple of months anyways and see if you get a reply - there might be the chance that they take you into consideration for a future position that might open up..

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  • How do you know though? The applications were open for 3 months, they still have to go through interviews etc. I can't exactly just contact them 2 weeks after the application deadline asking what's happening. I'd come across as very impatient.
    – Kendall
    Aug 10 at 9:14
  • @Kendall That's why I said most likely and not definitely - pls see my edit..
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 9:15
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    great. Thanks for the feedback. Navigating the working world is complicated.
    – Kendall
    Aug 10 at 9:17
  • @Kendall Pleasure, you live and you learn - it will get a lot easier once you are around for a decade or two.. ;)
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 9:51
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It is possible that they lost your application, yet there are many other reasons that lead to a rejection to a qualified application. Maybe they have multiple "perfect candidates" with more experiences, maybe there are applicants from internal or internship, you never know. You can't expect every HR or HM remenber all a hundred applicants.

I once applied a well-matched positon in a giant company and got nothing, my referal told me that the company has few internal applicants and the job posting is just for policy requirement.

It's compeletely normal to feel disappointed but just move on, keep searching for opportunities and perform at your best for each interview. Don't get bothered for the things that are not controlled by you.

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