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So you’ve sent your résumé to three (or 30 or 130) prospective employers and now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the phone to ring. But why is nothing happening?
I’ve got news for you: your phone will never ring. The fact that you sent your résumé in response to job postings means very little in the grand scheme of things. The search process (and the search industry) caters to employers’ needs, not yours — even if you’re a perfect match for a posted job.
Your résumé is likely to be as buried as an Egyptian artifact.
In fact, expect your résumé to be relegated to a large pile of other résumés. If you align yourself with the masses and take a number, you’ll play the game on their terms not yours.
After you send a cover letter/ résumé, how do you get them to the top of the pile? Always* make a follow-up call and/or email. Remember, it’s the conversation that gets you the interview.
3 Easy Steps to Acing the follow-up call:
1. Know when to make the contact
A general rule of thumb is one week or 5 business days after the position has closed. You’ll see the date at the end of the job listing. No closing date? The same 5 day timeline applies.
- Don’t contact before the closing date. You’ll look impatient and even desperate, and they’ll remember you for all the wrong reasons!
- *You saw this above next to the Always. If the posting states, “No phone calls or emails,” then don’t call or email. Period.
2. Do some diligent research
If you have a contact at your desired place of employment, call him and follow the sample questions below.
- If you don’t have a name/number, check out the company’s website for “Contact” information. There’s usually a phone number where you can call the location you’re seeking employment. Use your most professional tone (or your “interview voice”) and ask to speak with the hiring manager for the posted position. Or, get to him in a round-about way by asking to be transferred to the department indicated in the job posting (i.e. logistics); then ask for the manager or supervisor.
- Once you have a decision-maker on the line you need to be ready.
Practice, Practice, Practice these sample questions for a smooth delivery. Ready, Set, Call!
Have any decisions been made yet?
- Is it OK to follow up in another week if I don’t hear from you?
- What’s the time frame for the job-requisition process?
- What’s the time frame for the hiring process?
- What technical qualifications is the company seeking?
3. Be prepared to have a conversation
Here’s the funny thing. Once you successfully navigate the questions above, potential employers often like to inquire a little further: your savvy call paid off and now they have a few questions for you.
- This could be a short but EXTREMELY valuable Q & A opportunity, so it’s time step up to the plate and hit it out of the park.
- Stay as focused on each question as possible and be clear and precise about your skills. Your goal is to share your value statement in a direct manner.
- Remember, this is not an interview, but an opportunity for you stand out from the rest of the applicants and hopefully convince him/her you’re worthy of an interview.
- Reiterate the value you bring to the organization by citing specific professional accomplishments and skills you possess. These examples should relate in some way to the requirements of the open position.
The Bottom Line:
Believe it or not, most people don’t make this call. Yet the few minutes it takes to follow-up on your résumé can lead to huge payoff… a job! Today’s employers want to hire people with this kind of initiative.