By Andrea Santiago
Some of the most common job search questions often involve how job seekers should follow up with a potential employer or hiring manager after submitting a resume for consideration.
Many career experts, including Lindsay Olson from US News & World Report’s Money/Careers blog, agree that how you follow up depends upon a number of variables, and you need to approach each situation individually.
However, there are several common denominators that apply to most circumstances, and these guidelines will help you navigate the next step after you have submitted your resume.
The best resume follow-up strategy is to submit such a fantastic resume that you don’t have to follow up. If your resume is spot-on for the position, the hiring authority may contact you first, before you even have to follow up on anything.
So how do you impress hiring managers with your resume?
Customize your resume – Pay close attention to the language used in the job ad and job description. Incorporate the potential employer’s words and key phrases into your own resume where applicable (while being true to your qualifications of course!).
Research Resume Samples – There are numerous websites that now provide resume samples and resume builders for a variety of industries. Check out ResumeHUB in particular to see tons of samples as you walk through the resume creation wizard to craft a professional resume that stands out and showcases your experience.
What if I haven’t heard back?
But even the best resumes will sometimes still require you to proactively reach out to the hiring authority to get feedback regarding your application and status. If your resume does not stop the hiring manager in her or his tracks to invite you to an interview, it doesn’t mean that you are not qualified. The hiring manager may simply be overwhelmed with many good applicants. You can draw additional attention to your resume and help yourself stand out if you are able to follow up effectively and professionally.
How you proceed depends upon the method of your application. Did you apply online, through a friend, via a job fair, or the old fashioned way with a snail-mailed hard copy? Use the same method when possible: ask your friend to ask around for you, send an email, or leave a voicemail. If you know someone in the organization, it may be acceptable to contact that person directly. You should be careful not to contact the wrong person or follow up too frequently.
Here are a few basic resume follow-up tips:
- Be courteous and respectful of the person’s time.
- Don’t stalk the hiring manager or over-communicate. You could come across as desperate or just annoy the hiring manager so much that they could rule you out based on your communication style. A good rule to abide by is no more than once a week, for 2-3 weeks.
- Don’t go above or around the hiring manager or contact listed on the job ad. Some career experts recommend it, but in my experience as a recruiter and a hiring manager, that tactic usually does more harm than good.
- Your follow up should be brief, well-written, (or well-spoken if you’re leaving a voicemail), and free of errors, typos, or grammar mistakes.
- Email is less intrusive and generally more accepted than phone calls.
If you follow those basic guidelines when following up on your resume or job application, you will convey a high level of interest, tenacity, and professionalism that employers want from their prospective employees.