The following comment and question was presented by Brent Musell several days. Hope it helps and good luck with your search.
I get asked this question all the time by job seekers who fear they’re being impatient with their potential employer. Following up after an interview is a given, but should you follow up after sending a resume? It depends… do you want the job?
Jokes aside, research has found that it is truly beneficial to follow up after applying for a position. According to the Findings of a 2011 Global Career Brainstorming Day, “Follow-up is essential. Up to 40% of job seekers who follow-up after sending a resume to a hiring manager secure an interview.”
Think about this from the standpoint of the employer. Many hiring managers try to weed out the resume ‘spray and pray’ candidates from those that are truly interested in the position with the company. Following up is a great way to show that hiring manager you’re genuine.
Of course, it’s not as simple as contacting the company and saying, “Hey, I’m interested!” There are certain guidelines you need to consider before following up, lest you want to accomplish the opposite (annoying the company):
- Think of the method you used to apply for the position. Some companies use online applications and resume submission services. Others are more informal, requiring you to directly speak with the hiring manager first. Remember this level of formality before crafting your actual letter.
- There’s a fine line between sounding confident and sounding desperate. Assert that you are interested in the position because you feel you would best fit their needs, not because you really need or want the job.
- Limit your follow up to one occasion (two if the application process is lengthy). Remember, your goal is to remind the employer about your application without annoying them.
Career tip: You always want to come off sounding confident and qualified.
With that said, let’s go over some of the tools you have at your disposal:
Phone Calls seem like an obvious choice based upon the immediate response time but it’s not always that simple. First, it’s not always easy to find the phone number of the hiring manager; what’s more, you may not even be able to get a hold of them because of their busy schedule. Repeated attempts to reach may frustrate the individual and make you appear desperate. If you choose this method, make one call and leave a message—that’s it.
E-Mails are quick and easy, requiring little effort on both your part and the employer’s part. The employer can read it at any time and your follow up will not be “live”, so to speak. However, this is also the problem with e-mails; they don’t really demand any attention at all and may become lost in an employer’s Inbox (look at your own Inbox for a frame of reference).
Career tip: If you email, capture their attention with a strong subject line such as “Interested in (position title)” or “Application follow-up” that let’s the employer know not to mark the message as spam or delete it.
Hard copy letters are the most popular and the most effective. In the shoes of the potential employer who receives an average of 50 applications, setting yourself above the pack can be accomplished with a quick, formal, typed letter. Going a step further, the hiring manager (typically) will take your hard copy letter and staple it to your application, giving you a second look to impress.
No doubt you’re wondering about content…
Content and tone sets the stage and will determine success or failure. It’s not enough to simply say you’re following up after submitting your resume. What you write or say is just as important as the act itself. One constant is you should keep it short—best not to use up too much of the employer’s time. Typically two or three paragraphs will do but much depends on the job position and what you bring to the table.
Besides stating your purpose, you always want to leave your contact information, should they need to contact your further. In the case of e-mails, it’s not always easy to determine a candidates name from the message itself.
For phone calls, you especially want to keep the conversation short to avoid a ramble. Something along the lines of, “This is _____ calling. I recently applied for the _____ position in (company’s name and department). I’m calling to make sure you received the resume I submitted. I’m interested in this position, so I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”
Always remember to format your letter or e-mail properly. Standard business letter format is appreciated by almost everyone. For phone calls, write a script or dialogue and practice it until it sounds natural and not rehearsed.
For serious job seekers, I encourage you to visit www.edu-cs.com for additional information and career/professional development products, books, and resources specializing in your success.
Written by Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services