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  • Leslie Juvin-Acker

Why, When, and How To Follow Up After Submitting A Resume

I have received several requests from eager job seekers to write an article about the value of follow up calls and when and how to do them.  After submitting a resume and cover letter, a follow up call can be a nerve racking task. If you’ve been searching for a new job for a while, you might be anxious to make the call.

Not one company nor its human resources staff is the same. Consequently, that means their hiring policies and procedures vary, making how and with whom to follow up all the more complicated. Here are some general methods for following up and getting the job:

INTERACTING WITH AN HR MANAGER If you do not have an inside connection with the person who has the real authority to hire you, you must interact with the human resources manager and their assistants whose main responsibility is to screen the best candidates and then submit them to the respective person(s) responsible for making the ultimate hiring decision. Understand that a HR Manager is the gate keeper.

Over lunch with a 25 year human resources veteran, who creates staffing/incentive/legal solutions for Fortune 500 corporations, she told me the following,

“After working with some of the country’s largest corporations to the smallest local businesses, I can tell you that most human resources professionals have no clue about what they’re doing. These people are supposed to understand the big picture, but most of them do not. The sad thing is, many companies fail because of poor staffing decisions; a company’s success relies primarily on its people.”

With that said, many HR managers don’t understand what it really takes to do the job you’re applying for, especially in terms of applicants in scientific, technical, and executive positions. Not to mention, many HR employees insist they’re too busy to answer calls from applicants. It is your responsibility and objective to prove to them that you’re the best qualified candidate who deserves an interview. You can do this by creating a killer resume, a strong cover letter, and a great follow up call to get you to the next step.

SOLICITED VS. UNSOLICITED Solicited means you have been asked to submit your resume or have had prior communication with the company in question. Wait 48 hours after e-mailing or 4 days after physically mailing it to solicit for an interview.

Unsolicited means you have had no prior communication with the company in question. This includes finding a job posting online or on a flyer. Wait 5 days after e-mailing it and 7 days after physically mailing it.

BEST METHODS OF CONTACT Hand written notes, phone calls, and e-mail are acceptable methods of contacting a hiring manager.

E-mail is a method for gently reminding a recruiter that you’ve applied and re-submitting your resume.

When making a phone call, rehearse your message before hand and/or have a check list of talking points handy when you call. Call when you know or believe the person will be free. The best times to call are early morning and late afternoon.

If you have called more than two times and you are asked to leave a message, ask to leave a voice mail. Avoid leaving a message with a secretary or receptionist as they are trained to screen out unwanted callers. When leaving your message, keep your rehearsed message handy and be sure to sound confident and purposeful.

Personalized notes are a nice touch to explain your genuine interest and personalized touch, but require plenty of patience.

ONLINE APPLICATIONS: If you are applying for a position online and the company’s website instructs you not to call, then don’t worry about making any type of follow up communication. You can, essentially, go on with your life and pretend as if you’ve never submitted the resume in the first place.

On a side note: I say the latter because more and more companies are taking the impersonal route by demanding you to take the time to submit your resume – sometimes going through a long and complicated online application process – without giving you a personal response for your interest and effort. I don’t advise working for companies like these, because if they treat applicants (who are many times customers) this way, imagine how they treat their own.

If contact information was provided, follow the basic waiting periods before making a follow up call.

SAMPLE SCRIPT 1. Don’t waste anybody’s time by just asking if they got your resume. Simply state your name, when you submitted your resume, and what position you’re applying for.

“Hello, Mrs/Mr/Ms X. Thank you for receiving my call/returning my call. My name is (eager applicant). I submitted my resume by (e-mail/mail) on (day/date).

2. Indicate that you’ve taken the time to thoroughly research the company and submit your application to them. Politely ask for a moment of their time and consideration.

“I have spent much time and effort learning about X company. Would you be kind by sparing a moment of your time so I may offer a little information about myself and ask you a few questions? I promise I won’t take long.”

3. A.) Briefly mention your interest in the company and the top qualifications that match the position and your profile.

“X Company really stands out among other companies in X industry for its X quality. As you might assume, I was thrilled to see the opening for X position as I am well versed in/capable of/highly experienced in X,Y,Z position requirements/position skills.”

B.) Ask if there is anything on your resume they’d like for you to elaborate on.

“Do you have any questions about me or my qualifications?”

C.) Ask for the opportunity to meet and discuss your hiring potential in person.

“I’d like to meet with you to see if I’m what (X company) is looking for. Is now a good time to schedule a meeting?”

4. If now is not a good time to schedule a meeting, ask: A.) when is a good time to call back.

“I respect your time. When is the best time to call again?

When they expect to stop collecting applications for the respective position and how they will communicate their interest or disinterest.

“When does X company expect to stop collecting applications and seriously consider applicants? How will X company let applicants knows whether or not they advance to the next recruitment stage?

5.Thank the person for their time. Make clear that you expect notification either way and appreciate the courtesy.

“Thank you very much for your time and your responses. I look forward to any updates available for this position.


Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. For more tips on achieving your state of happiness, sign up for Leslie, Inc’s weekly newsletter.

#communications #jobhuntingtips #jobsearching

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