For many applicants, following up on a resume with a potential employer is a big step outside their comfort zone. Most are of the belief that, if the company is interested, they'll go out of their way to find and hire me. This is sometimes true, but just as often it’s not.
Following up with targeted employers can teach you to examine a variety of misconceptions, discover the meaning of being proactive, and reap the benefits of your discoveries.
Here are a few helpful tips to remember when you make that call:
Relate Your Resume to the Ad
Provide a notable piece of your resume that relates to the ad while giving your name. The resume piece allows the other person to place you and connecting it to the ad makes it important to them. For example, instead of asking, "Did you receive my resume?" you could say, "I was wondering how far along you are in the screening process for XYZ job." Follow that up by asking if they've received your resume.
If they still don’t remember you after you’ve related your resume to the ad, ask for their email address and let them know that you will be happy to send them your resume again. Then follow up a second time.
Ask About the Hiring Process
While you have them on the phone, ask a few questions about the hiring process, its timing, and the next step. Asking these questions help you to brand yourself and allow you to plan the next step of your follow-up strategy.
Use a Thankful Tone
It’s helpful to use a tone of voice that makes it clear they're doing you a favor. "Could you possibly tell me if my resume has been received and where it is in the process?" This sort of open-ended question is designed to let you know where you stand in the bigger picture.
Avoid Asking Dead End Questions
Starting off with "I'm Sam Smith. I applied for your Marketing Director position, and I’m wondering if you’ve received my resume?" will get you nowhere. They receive many resumes and won’t remember you. The person you are speaking with is very busy, and you’re likely to get this sort of response: "If you sent it, then I'm sure we have received it. If we are interested, we'll let you know." Asking this kind of question will only reinforce the belief that following up is pointless.
Show Your Interest
Show your enthusiasm for the position. Make clear how excited you were to see it, and how you can’t wait to learn more. Be sure to get the name of the person you’re speaking with and then thank them by name.
- Follow up a few days after you've sent your resume and every two to four days after that. That's sufficient for them to remember you without become annoying.
- Save the "I'm following up on my resume" part for last. Otherwise the rest of your message is likely to go unheard.
- If you still haven’t spoken with anyone after three calls, it’s time to change your strategy. Try someone else in HR or the hiring authority or the hiring authority's admin. If you’re still unsuccessful, take a break for a few weeks or forget the company altogether. Not every follow-up will be successful, but you may learn something new from each one.