Learn the Basics of Resume Follow-Up and Get Noticed

Whether or not you should step outside of your comfort zone and follow up on your resume with a potential employer is an often disputed subject. The popular belief is, if a company wants me they’ll find a way to bring me in or hire me. True – and not true.

By following up with targeted companies you’ll learn, over time, to examine many misconceptions, understand the meaning of being pro-active, and how to reap the benefits.

Here are some helpful tips for when you decide to follow up:

Sound Grateful

It’s often helpful to use a tone of voice that acknowledges they’re doing you a favor. Use an open-ended question designed to find out what you want to know while showing how you stack up in the bigger picture. For example, “Would you be willing to tell me, please, if you’ve received my resume and where it is in the process?”

Connect Yourself to the Ad

When giving your name, provide a memorable piece of resume information that connects to the ad. Connecting this piece of information to the ad makes it relevant to them and helps the person to place you. Instead of asking, “Have you received my resume?” first ask, “Where are you in the screening process for XYZ job?” Then ask about your resume.

Indicate Interest

Show that you are interested in the position. Express your excitement about the opening and indicate that you’re eager to learn more. Be sure to get the name of the person you are speaking with and then thank them.

Be Persistent

If they don’t remember you after your initial introduction, follow up by asking for their email address and letting them know that you’d like to send them your resume again.

Avoid Dead End Questions

Your resume is one of many. That’s why, when you call and say, “I’m Joe Smith and I sent you a resume for your Marketing Director position. Have you received it?” they don’t remember you. You’re speaking with a busy person who can’t automatically take the time to find out. The answer you receive will be similar to this: “If you sent your resume, then I’m sure we’ve received it. We’ll let you know if we decide to bring you in.” Hence, your conclusion that it’s pointless to follow up.

Inquire About Their Process

When you do call, inquire about the company’s hiring process, its timing, and the next step. Many people don’t ask these questions, and doing so will help you to brand yourself and allow you to plan your continued follow-up strategy.

Final Tips

  • Begin a few days after sending your resume, and every two to four days after that. That’s often enough for them to remember you, but not so often you become annoying.
  • If you want your message to be listened to, leave the “I’m following up on my resume” part until the end.
  • If you still haven’t spoken with anyone after three calls, try someone else in HR or the hiring authority or the hiring authority’s admin. If that doesn’t work, stop calling for a few weeks, or forget the company entirely. At times that’s the best option.