After you’ve written a great cover letter and resume and sent everything on its merry way, the real work of getting a job begins. Following up on all the resumes you’ve sent is not fun. Maybe that’s why many don’t follow up. It does take guts. No one wants to experience the downside of getting a straight out “No” or being blown off. Grit your teeth and do it anyway.
Don’t Give Up – Follow Up
Following up demonstrates your drive and initiative. Someone who calls and says, “I have applied for such and such position. I understand you must be busy, but I would love to hear back from you because I am really interested in working for XYZ Company” is not only proactive, but also shows consideration for the employer’s side of the process.
However, there is a fine line between aggressively following up and being downright annoying. From your perspective, you’re anxiously waiting to hear if you got the job. On the other side of the equation is a stressed-out human resource manager trying to make a decision from a stack of resumes. Follow-up calls are acceptable … up to a point.
Show Interest, Not Aggressiveness
It’s a tough situation. If you call and the recruiter has six positions open and 125 resumes for each one, no way will he or she stop and search through the piles. You are more likely to get voice mail anyway. Some advise to call after hours and leave a message. Then you’ve made it known you’re really interested, but the employer doesn’t have to respond, only note that you’ve called.
Employers who use electronic application processes usually have clear guidelines as to how they want people to follow up. They don’t want to get calls to see if an application was received, since many automatically send out an acknowledgement or receipt. Some also have procedures in place for applicants to track their resumes online.
There is no way human resources people in large companies can physically get back to every applicant anyway. A corporate recruiter from a large asset management company notes that because of the tremendous volume of applications they get, their Web site clearly states applicants are not to call. So if applicants do call, it is seen as a bad move along the lines of “You are not following the process on our Web site. You have shown us already that you don’t know how to follow instructions.”
If there are no instructions about how an employer wants you to follow up, the consensus is to wait about two weeks and then have the follow-up call or e-mail. Most agree that if your cover letter states you will follow up in a specific time frame, follow up in that time frame. If you don’t, you send the signal that you are not doing what you said you would do. How’s that for a recommendation? In any case, err on the side of caution to ensure that you aren’t pegged as pushy, irritating, or a waste of anyone’s time.