How to Follow Up on Your Resume
By Andy Denka
April/May 2010 (SmartPros) There's no question the job market is highly competitive right now. Not only are many people looking for positions, but hiring managers commonly say the application materials they receive come from unqualified individuals. These factors can make it even more difficult for the resumes of strong candidates to stand out -- and it's all the more reason why you should follow up after submitting your resume.
Job seekers often worry they’ll come across as pushy or desperate if they attempt to reach hiring managers after applying for a position, but most employers approve of applicants contacting them. In fact, only 5 percent of executives interviewed for a Robert Half survey said job seekers should not contact hiring managers after submitting a resume. Whether you reach out by phone or e-mail or call the hiring manager’s assistant, consider following up within a few days.
Following up on your resume is important because it shows initiative and enthusiasm. Also, assuming your approach is timely, thoughtful and professional, you may be able to improve the odds of your resume getting a closer look.
As most job seekers know, however, it’s not always easy. It may seem next-to-impossible, in fact, if you applied to a blind employment ad. Even if you’re familiar with the prospective employer, you may not have been given the name of the person who is responsible for hiring.
Network Your Way to a Name
Thanks to search engines and network sites such as LinkedIn, you also may be able to find the hiring manager’s name on your own. LinkedIn, for instance, allows users to search for individuals by combining titles and firms. You can pair a word such as “audit” with a company name, for example, and then refine the results. Once you find a good contact, try sending a brief message reiterating your interest in the open position and encouraging the recipient to view your LinkedIn profile. Another helpful site is Manta.com, which you can use to research companies and identify their key managers.
Another option, though a less common way to proceed, is to follow up in person. Dress as you would for an interview and hand-deliver a letter and another copy of your resume to the company’s reception desk. Depending on the size of the firm and its accessibility, you might be offered an opportunity for a brief meet-and-greet with the hiring manager. Even if this is not the case, you still might mention that you’re in the area for the day and would welcome a brief impromptu meeting with the individual in charge of hiring – perhaps over coffee – if he or she has some free time.
Although this nontraditional approach may not be the best strategy for every situation, when appropriate, it is another way to demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and further distinguish yourself. Also, if a hiring manager has not yet taken the time to evaluate resumes for the position, it might encourage him or her to at least give yours a priority review.
Make It Worthwhile
Although many companies may seem to take a “don’t call us; we’ll call you” stance in their job postings, employers are unlikely to fault strong candidates who demonstrate initiative by pursuing an opportunity that truly interests them. Most job seekers have little to lose and everything to gain by taking the extra step of following up after submitting their application materials. As long as you proceed in a professional manner, you may be able to give yourself an advantage over less proactive candidates.
For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series, at www.rhi.com/podcasts.
ABOUT ANDY DENKA