Learn the Basics of Resume Follow-Up and Get Noticed | Jobs In The US
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Learn the Basics of Resume Follow-Up and Get Noticed

By: Judi Perkins

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and following up on your resume with a potential employer is a hotly contested topic. The prevailing belief: if the company wants me, they'll move mountains to hunt me down and bring me in or hire me. True - and not true.

Over time, following up with targeted companies teaches you to examine a lot of misconceptions, understand what being pro-active means, and allows you to reap the benefits.

Here are some basics to practice when you make that call:

Talk About the Ad

When you provide your name, supply a memorable piece of your resume that connects to the ad. The piece of resume information helps the person to place you; connecting it to the ad makes it relevant to them. Next, rather than asking, "Did you receive my resume?" first ask, "Where are you in the screening process for XYZ job?" Then ask if they've received your resume.

Have a Thankful Tone

Using a tone of voice that acknowledges they're doing you a favor can help. "Would you be willing to tell me, please, if you've received my resume and where it is in the process?" That's an open-ended question designed to get you what you want to know and where you are in the bigger picture.

Don't Ask Dead End Questions

When you call and say, "I'm Beatrice Bigelow. I sent you a resume for your Marketing Director position, and I'm wondering if you received it?" They don't remember you. You're only one resume out of many. You anticipate that they will automatically take the time to find out, but you're speaking with a busy person. That's why you hear this: "If you sent it, then I'm sure we have it. If we decide to bring you in, we'll let you know." Hence, your conclusion that following up is pointless.

Be Persistent

If, after your initial introduction (that includes the resume fact), they still don't remember you, ask for their email address and tell them you'd be happy to send them your resume again. Then follow up again.

Learn Their Process

While you're on the phone, ask a few questions about the hiring process, its timing, and the next step. This will not only help you to brand yourself - because so many people don't ask those questions - but it will help you plan your continued follow-up strategy.

Show Your Interest

Express enthusiasm for the position. Say you were excited to have seen it, and you're eager to learn more. Make sure you get the name of the person with whom you were speaking and then thank them - by name!

Final Tips

  • Start a few days after you've sent your resume. After that, every two to four days is sufficient. That's often enough for them to remember you, but not so often you become annoying.
  • Leave the "I'm following up on my resume" part until the end, because otherwise the rest of your message is unlikely to be listened to.
  • After three calls, if you still haven't spoken with anyone, try someone else in HR or the hiring authority or the hiring authority's admin. If that doesn't work, give it up for a few weeks. Or forget the company altogether. Sometimes that's an excellent option, too.

Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, New York Daily News, and featured as an expert in numerous career books.