What to Do if Your Application is Being Ignored

5 minute read

Receiving rejection after rejection from employers – or hearing nothing back whatsoever – can be draining. Especially if you’ve put in hours of work updating your CV and filling out countless bespoke applications. Surely the effort you’ve put in is clear and should count for something, right? Not necessarily.

The sad truth is that many people are filtered out early on in the application stage because they didn’t use the right keywords or didn’t highlight the right skills. According to CareerBuilder, most recruiters spend less than 30 seconds reading through a CV or application. And it’s even worse if you’re trying to break into a sector like non-profit. If you’ve never had a full-time charity job before, you’re probably still learning the right way to sell your skills in the context of doing good. So how can you be sure you’re even saying the right things on your CV?

It’s simple – reach out and figure out exactly where you went wrong. By following up, identifying issues in your application and trying out different job-hunting methods, you can turn your job hunt around and increase your chances of landing that next step on the charity career ladder.

Here are the few steps you should take if your application is being ignored:

What to Do if Your Application is Being Ignored

Follow up

Applied for your dream charity role, waited 1-2 weeks and heard nothing back? There’s no harm in following up on your application. A polite follow-up email will show your passion for the role and may even motivate a recruiter to reassess your CV.

Ideally, you should send the email directly to the recruiter. If you know their name, look them up on LinkedIn and find their email address – if you can’t find it, you can always message them directly. As a last resort, use the company’s generic email.

Your email should be polite and concise, confirming your interest in the role and emphasising why you’re a great fit for the job, for example:

Hi (name),

Sorry to chase – I know you must have lots of applications to deal with.

I just wanted to ask if you had managed to take a look at my CV/application? I emailed it to you on (date).

I’d like to reiterate my interest in this role. I believe my skills and experience would be an ideal match for the position, in particular (insert some reasons why you would be a good fit for the role).

I’ve re-attached my application here and am available to speak as soon as possible.

Hope to hear from you soon.


(Name, email, phone number)

And don’t just email jobs you’re waiting to hear back on – email the recruiters who rejected you as well. Although most hiring managers aren’t able to provide feedback on each application they receive, reaching out to them directly and asking for a bit more insight into why you weren’t chosen can help you create a better application down the line.



Reassess your target jobs

If you’ve applied for more jobs than you can count and appear to be having no luck, it’s time to reassess your target roles. Bring up the job descriptions of roles you’ve applied for or are interested in applying for and analyse the skills, experience and qualifications which are commonly required.

If you have far less experience than employers are looking for, you may need to consider taking on a lower level role in the charity industry and working your way up. Skills and experience are the first thing recruiters look at, and if those don’t match up to the role, they probably won’t bother reading the rest of your application.

Are you missing a key skill? Use your initiative and get learning, whether it’s through online courses or by enrolling at a course at your local college.

What to Do if Your Application is Being Ignored

Tweak your CV accordingly

After assessing your target jobs and gaining an understanding of the skills and experience required, you may find that you need to tweak your CV to match.

Tailor your CV to the overall type of role you’re applying for, and then tweak it even further for every application you make. The aim is to match and highlight the skills required as closely as you can each time.

Try to fit in the most essential requirements for each role in the top third of your CV, as part of a personal profile and core skills section. After all, this may be all that recruiters read before initially deciding if you’re a good fit!


Don't miss another post, sign up to our weekly newsletter

Thank you for subscribing, you're on the list for the next edition!

Try some new approaches

By applying directly to job advertisements, you’re automatically throwing yourself into a huge pile of candidates. While you should continue to apply in this traditional way, trying out some new job searching approaches can multiply your job searching efforts.

Are you on LinkedIn? If not, get set up immediately. Upload a professional photo, add your skills and experience and add a punchy summary. Make sure you’ve turned the ‘open to opportunities’ tab on – this will let recruiters know you’re in the market for a job.

You should also try sending speculative emails to potential employers. Attach a copy of your CV and a tailored cover letter to the company in question to an email, letting them know you’d like to be considered for future opportunities. Make sure to personalise the email for each company you reach out to – generic emails won’t do you any favours.

What to Do if Your Application is Being Ignored

We know how hard the job hunt can be – believe me when I say we’ve all been there. The trick is not letting a bit of rejection get you down. By following these tips, you can get your job-hunting momentum back on track and improve your chances of landing the perfect role in the charity industry. Need a bit of help to get you started? Download our non-profit CV and cover letter templates today.

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV and careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job description library, as well as being a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

    You might also like...

    Don't miss another post, sign up to our weekly newsletter

    Thank you for subscribing, you're on the list for the next edition!