Why Don't Recruiters Call Me Back?


Outlined below is the Cazoot guide for creating a resume and LinkedIn profile that will increase your chances of being shortlisted for the job you want.

Why Don't Recruiters Call Me Back?

You know the drill when applying for a job.

  1. You spend an inordinate amount of precious time crafting what you think is the perfect resume.  

  2. You design a Rockstar LinkedIn profile that showcases how awesome you are.  

  3. Invest heavily in creating a tailored cover letter showing how passionate
    you are for the role.  

  4. Then wait expectantly for that call or email from the recruiter.

And then what happens?????  

Normally…. NOTHING!

So, you wait and agonise over what to do.

  • Should I send a follow up email?

  • Should I ring the head hunter?

  • Did they get my application?

  • What’s wrong with my profile???

And then, if you’re lucky, you get the “Dear John/Jane” letter stating that the quality of candidates was very high and unfortunately on this occasion your application was unsuccessful.  Blah, blah, blah.

So why is it some people seemingly always get the calls for an interview, and others are left to contemplate the sounds of crickets and rolling tumbleweeds as they wait by the phone?

I’d like to say that there is some science to the process, but there often isn’t.  Research conducted by The Ladders reported that recruiters take on average
six seconds to scan a resume.

WTF!  Six seconds?!?!?  

When you consider that around a third of recruiters say that they can’t hire talented candidates because they get too many unqualified “junk” resumes from job boards*; the average number starts to make a bit more sense.  But six seconds????

But wait!  Before you chuck your cv in the bin and throw your arms up in exasperation wondering “What’s the point?” there are ways to get your cv and profile out of the “junk” category.

Cazoot has compiled some guidelines to help your profile, your application and resume cut through the dross and get to the interview.  

Let’s break down what you need to do into key areas.  Firstly, let’s look at your LinkedIn Profile.

Optimising Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile is your public persona and a key reference for recruiters, colleagues, partners and customers.  Don’t dis LinkedIn with the view that “I don’t do that social crap.”  Whether you like it or not, LinkedIn does matter.

So here are some tips to make a LinkedIn profile that will pique the interest of the recruiter and get you closer to the negotiating table.

Headline Profile 

Think of your headline profile as your elevator pitch.  Describe “you” in short statements, be direct and make your value proposition clear.  Long wordy profiles aren’t likely to be read.  

Don’t forget, Google is the biggest search engine and when a recruiter enters your name into Google.  Chances are your LinkedIn headline profile is what will pop up when they search, so make it meaningful and relevant.  

Complete Your Profile

Having a profile that is incomplete is going to hurt you.  Recruiters will be judging you based on what you show on LinkedIn.

The recruiter wants to see:

a) Your complete work experience, including:

  • Start and end dates

  • An overview of the business and your responsibilities

  • Your accomplishments outlining what you achieved in the role

b) Your education profile including:

  • Tertiary qualifications

  • Relevant industry and professional development programs

  • Awards

c) Your accomplishments. 

d) Your personality.  Don’t go over the top (it’s not eHarmony!) but share some insights that will provide a little bit of insight into the type of person you are.


Sorry to shout, but this is kind of important.  There is nothing more likely to send off an alarm bell with the recruiter than dates that overlap; a bullshit title you gave yourself; or fudging accomplishments and responsibilities to make you sound more awesome. 

Having a profile that is incomplete is going to hurt you.  Recruiters will be judging you based on what you show on LinkedIn.

If a recruiter does their own intel on you and finds out your profile is not all that you say it is – game over.  Also, if you do get to the referee stage, you don’t want a “little white lie”, or some minor embellishment, to scuttle your chances and destroy your integrity.  All because you, or your referee, couldn’t back up your claims.

Now that you know all this, what you need to do is keep it short and succinct by using bullet points and pithy statements.  I know – sounds impossible, but it isn’t.

If you need some help, drop us a note with a link to your LinkedIn profile for some feedback.  I promise – we’ll be gentle ☺

Avoid Jargon

While you might know every abbreviation, acronym and funky name used in your industry, the recruiter may not – so don’t use them unless they are universal terms.   

Also, unless you want to be locked into an industry forever, explain your skills in a way that the recruiter (and a potential employer) can understand them and translate them to the job they are recruiting for.

Profile Picture

First of all, have one.

Now, as cool as you might think that holiday pic of you at the beach, or at the bar, is – don’t use it.  Likewise, half-assed selfies don’t present a great image either.  

You don’t need to go all out and get a professional photographer (the average smartphone will take an awesome picture).  Make sure it’s a good headshot and is current (yes that’s right, if the picture is a 15-year-old pic of you in your prime, it’s probably not the one to use). 


Having worked in photography, I know how easy it is to improve a photo with “touch-up” tools, but don’t go there.  Be authentic.  Be confident.  Be you.  

If a recruiter sees your photo, and then you front up looking very different from it, you may be seen as disingenuous, or that you don’t believe in yourself.  

Remember, the profile photo is a professional representation of you to the outside world, including recruiters.  

As one of my favourite bosses told me many years ago, “You only have one chance to make a first impression, don’t screw it up!”

Your Posts and Activity

Posting articles and contributing constructively to conversations on LinkedIn can be a very positive way to show that you are active, engaged and an influencer.

Openly arguing with people; being excessively critical and opinionated; or making (God forbid) inappropriate remarks or jokes with colleagues on LinkedIn, is unlikely to endear you to the recruiter.  It certainly won’t put you to the top of the list.  

Remember, LinkedIn is a public forum and you are marketing your brand.  

If you wouldn’t like your Mum or your Boss 

to read it, don’t post it!

Your Network

Being a good networker is important for any executive. Your profile should show that you have a healthy network of people and industry contacts (not just those painful sales people desperately connecting with everyone and anyone on LinkedIn).

So, what does this mean? Well a few hundred to a thousand is a healthy number but it needs to be more than connecting with your mates and work colleagues.

If you have a huge network, don’t put it in your profile or against your name. You just look like a wanker. There is no competition to see who can get the largest LinkedIn network, all that matters is that you have a healthy, engaged and relevant network.

If per chance you are connected, 
or following, some of the key movers 
and shakers in your industry that are 
well known, kudos to you. 

This indicates that there is likely to
 be some substance to you and 
your credentials.

LinkedIn Summary

So that’s it for LinkedIn. Whilst there is a lot not to like about LinkedIn, there is a lot to like as well. It can be a powerful tool when used the right way. So, use it wisely Grasshopper.

Now, the job everybody loves (not!) writing your curriculum vitae / resume and cover note for the job application. Yay!

Creating a Job Application That Can Cut Through

With so many applications hitting the inbox of recruiters, it’s not surprising that they don’t have time to read through every detail of every application.

Based on the average of six seconds per application, I’m betting a bucket of applications don’t even get read!!

Regardless of the process, the volume and the competition, your resume can be the one thing that can make or break your chances of an interview.

So as painful as it is to write, 
making your resume stand 
out so it gets cut through is 
important. Ok? Ok, then.

Cover Letter

Now I have no doubts that your resume is brilliant. But it will work a lot better with a cover letter that is personal, engaging and tailored to the job you are applying for.

The cover letter also demonstrates that you have invested time to review the job, craft your application and present a summary of why you are the best candidate. In other words, you want the job and are prepared to work for it.

No need to pound out a four-page letter relaying how much you want the job and how awesome you are. Be succinct. Think of this again as your elevator pitch – be clear, direct and relevant offering enough information to get the interest of the recruiter, not bore them (remember six seconds!).

Reference the specific skills and attributes that are required for the role and welcome any questions, any time.

Last, but not least – quality is important. Don’t miss-spell the recruiters name; get the job title wrong; or have spelling or grammatical errors. Copying and pasting from previous applications maybe convenient, but it can be risky. Check, double-check, triple-check, and then check again.

I know that writing a cover letter can be tiresome and time consuming, but if you can’t be bothered to write one for your application for the job, don’t apply. You obviously don’t want the job that much, so you can save yourself and the recruiter some time ☺

Easy to Scan

Since you’ve only got an average of six seconds to get the recruiter’s attention – you need to make your resume easy to digest from a cursory scan.  How? I hear you asking.  Read on.

Break your resume into clearly defined sections, such as:

  • Summary of Work History

  • Skills

  • Accomplishments

  • Education

  • Interests / Hobbies

Use bullet points as much as possible prefaced by short simple sentences. 

Employment History

The longer you have been around and the more jobs you have had, the longer the history you will have.  Most important is your current, or most recent job, followed by the one or two jobs preceding.

Whilst the job you had 4 jobs ago, or 10 or so years back, may be a career highlight to you, it isn’t necessarily that relevant today when applying for a job.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t list all your job history and experience, just don’t over explain those jobs that you had before Facebook was existed and when the Internet was being touted as the next big thing!

A friend who was also a head-hunter explained to me about my resume that anything beyond five years ago she didn’t really care about.  It hurt to think that some of my big achievements had passed their use-by date in the credentials stake, but that’s the way it is.

So, focus on the most recent roles and here you should provide detail such as:

  • Responsibilities

  • Profile of your role

  • Budgets you managed

  • Key achievements

When describing key achievements be specific when describing them by using metrics and clearly stating how you achieved them.  Metric such as:

  • Increased Revenue by 20% in 12 months by implementing a new pricing policy.

  • Reduced staff turnover by 30% contributing $X in benefit to the business by rolling out an innovative staff rewards program.

  • Led the renegotiating of all major supplier contracts to reduce expenditure by 35% which delivered a bottom line lift of 10%.

You need to show the value you can bring to a prospective employer and make it easy for the recruiter to understand and assess your achievements.

My friend the head hunter who I mentioned earlier held achievements in high regard telling me 

“People recruit based on what you have done, not what you were responsible for.”


As with the advice on your LinkedIn profile: BE ACCURATE AND NO DISCREPANCIES. Sorry to shout again, but this advice hasn’t become any less important. Your LinkedIn profile and your resume must not have dates that overlap; a bullshit title you gave yourself; or fudging accomplishments and responsibilities to make you sound more awesome. Repeating myself, I know.

Presentation is important to show you in the right light and stand out. No spelling or grammatical errors. Simple and easy to read formatting to showcase your professionalism - do not use stupid Fonts or Clipart!!

A good quality resume that shows professionalism, pride and care in preparation will give the recruiter some comfort that you aren’t a complete Wally, and likely to interview well.


Whilst the best resume in the world won’t guarantee you an interview, let alone the job, it will be get you noticed. If you get a knock back – don’t be disheartened and don’t give up.

One of my favourite bosses told me that you can be an awesome candidate, but if the next candidate is Albert Einstein there isn’t anything you can do.

As with life in general, managing your career is no different. Focus and work on the things you can control, and don’t waste any energy worrying about the things you can’t control.

Remember - Every time you get told “No” you are one step closer to getting a “Yes”.

Now go get ‘em!

ResourcesBen PlantComment