Sunday, February 9, 2014

How to Follow Up on Your Resume

Job Search Tips
You have applied for a job online, and now you are anxiously waiting for a response.  There must be something you can do to increase your odds of getting an interview right?  So, how to follow up on your resume or application?

I feel like, somewhere, I do not know where, someone told all applicants that the best way to follow up was to call and say something like this, "Hi, my name is Jane Doe, and I just wanted to call and make sure you received my application.  You never know with technology whether it went through.  The role feels like it was written for me.  I would really appreciate if you could call me back at 123-456-7890."  Or they might say they would like to find out more information before they even apply.  How does that sound to you?  I get calls and emails like this all the time.  I hate to say it, but maybe once or twice out of the hundreds of calls, did I ever not receive the application due to an actual technical problem, and I honestly do not have the bandwidth to talk to someone who has not even applied yet.  This voice mail/email tactic is ineffective at best.  Please do not use it if you wish to get an interview.  Instead, please consider the following tips.

How to Follow Up on a Resume or Application:
  • First AND Most Important, Please Read My Post on How to Write a Resume AND Actually Get a Response.  This will be your BEST CHANCE at securing an interview simply by writing an effective resume.  You will not even have to worry about following up on it.  Recruiters will read your resume and call you for an interview.  
  • Leverage Your Connections and Get Another Employee to Refer You.  Your SECOND BEST bet to get your resume seen is really to have an employee of the company send it directly to the hiring manager and/or HR.  At that point, you make it relevant.  There is a relationship there that will usually persuade a review and a response.  It cannot perform miracles though, so if you are ultimately not a fit for the specific role you are inquiring about, please respond gracefully.  It will reflect better on you and allow you to still be considered for future roles.
  • Assume the Company Did Receive Your Resume or Application.  It is safe to say that technology does work most of the time, and this thinly veiled excuse can sometimes be a pet peeve for HR Recruiters, so do not use it.  If you actually had an issue trying to figure out how to submit your online application, then I would suggest you ask a friend before asking the recruiter.  Every interaction you have with your prospective employer is a reflection on you as a potential employee.  Not being able to figure out the job portal may incorrectly be interpreted as being technologically challenged, and thus marks you as an undesirable job candidate.
  • Do Not Tell Them You Are Perfect For the Role.  This might seem like a good idea, but it carries an air of arrogance.  Candidates do not ultimately know what the company is really looking for, and they also do not have insights into what the competition looks like.  Humility when addressing the job requirements will go a long way.  Job Descriptions are usually poorly written, and what the company is really looking for is intangible.  It could be related to the specific hiring manager's work style, the company culture, or specific industry experience.
  • Do Not Argue With the Recruiter.  This is why most recruiters and HR professionals do not respond.  If someone actually tries to give constructive feedback, please do not argue with them.  It can be seen as combative and will only serve to frustrate the recruiter and prove to them that you were not a good candidate or that giving feedback is never a good idea because it is only met with defensive arguments.  Legally companies have to be vague because of liability.  Some feedback can be misinterpreted or taken out of context, and many recruiters have been burned for trying to be nice and honest in responding.  Please respect that they are doing their job and selecting the candidates that best fit the company's current needs in the role.
  • Please Do Not Apply for Everything.  It is almost a given that if a candidate applies for every opening at the company, then the recruiter knows they are simultaneously not qualified for anything.  A jack of all trades may seem appealing, but think of it this way.  Would you hire a General Practitioner to operate on your brain, or would you rather have a Brain Surgeon?  Companies are trying to hire Brain Surgeons for their open Brain Surgeon positions.  Be selective about what you apply for, and make sure your experience is relevant for that role.
Finally, if you are set on leaving a voice mail, email, or LinkedIn message with the Recruiter, HR person, or Hiring Manager, then I will leave you with this:

An Example:

"Hi John, my name is Jane Doe.  My friend Bill Smith in Sales is always talking about how much he loves working there.  I recently applied for the open Marketing Analyst role posted on your website.  I know you are a very busy person, so I just wanted to let you know how excited I am about the opportunity.  Even if I am ultimately not selected for this role, I would love the chance to meet you for coffee.  I am always looking to connect with other local professionals and am really interested in your career and accomplishments.  I hope the search is going well, and I hope I get the chance to connect with you soon.  Again, my name is Jane Doe, applying for the Marketing Analyst role, and my phone number is 123-456-7890."

What do you think?  If you were the recruiter or hiring manager would you respond to the first message or the one directly above?  Put yourself in their shoes.  If you had 500 resumes for one open position.  How would you want to hear from a candidate?

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