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Following up is not optional

wishYou’ve applied for dozens if not hundreds of jobs online.  You aren’t hearing back.  Join the club.  This is probably one of the biggest frustrations of job seekers.  So what can you do?

Adapt your resume and cover letter

Did you take the time to personalize, customize and make your cover letter and resume relevant for each of the job posting? Can the employer clearly see (without having to think) how your experience relates to the job?

Take Ownership

Stop waiting.  Take action.  If any of these jobs you applied for were really of interest, follow up with an email or phone call.  Be sure you follow the instructions, for example, if the ad said “No calls please”, that means you shouldn’t call.  Looking for some advice on making these follow-up phone calls?  Read my post Follow-up Tactics.

Find an Insider

Talk to everyone you know and find someone who works for that company.  When you find someone who works there, ask them if they know about the job, its status, and who they might recommend you speak to.  Be super nice to them because you will want them to be an advocate for you or at least an informant.

You might be able to find names of people to contact on the company website.

You might be able to find the company and its employees on LinkedIn

You might be able to read the company’s blog to gather names or information

You might be able to follow the company on Twitter

Timelines Slip…Don’t Give Up

I read an article recently that suggested that job seekers give up if they haven’t heard back from an employer.  I would caution against this, especially if it is a job/company you are really interested in.

Companies do not plan or purposely keep applicants hanging or waiting.  For many valid reasons, their timeline slips or their goals change or their financial situation changes.

Feel Empowered not Victimized

Sure the employer has what you want…a job.  But, what can you do to feel empowered?  Take action.  At least you can say and know that you did EVERYTHING possible.  Waiting isn’t taking action.  One email isn’t enough.  Persistence.

Here is a post I wrote which addresses the fear of many, What will they think (you don’t want to come across as aggressive or desperate, so how much is too much follow-up?)

Do you have a great story of victory?  Have you been successful in persistently following-up?  Please share!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sharol Wilson May 12, 2011, 10:22 am

    I will say that I have tweeked my resume and each job I submit my resume to I revise my cover letter to show that I have exactly what they (the company) is looking for.

    The job seach is frustrating, but persistence is the key to success.

    Thanks for the tips very helpful.

  • Marc Miller May 12, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Call HR or the hiring manager and make sure they got your resume. I have a good friend, Jim Adcock, who serves on the Launch Pad Job Club board with me. Jim had an issue with his last name. Spam filters were catching his resume and tossing it. Jim learned to always call and make sure they got his resume.

    On another note, I attended South By Southwest Interactive conference this year. I attended three sessions related to employment and hiring. The rooms were filled with recruiters and ALL of them said you are more than welcome to call them.

    With that said, pick up the phone and call!! If you do not know who to call, call the main number and ask for HR or recruiting. Just follow up!

    • Hannah Morgan May 16, 2011, 4:04 am

      Valid, valid points! Just follow up with a call! Thanks!

  • Deborah Cox May 16, 2011, 2:40 am

    Excellent post!

    When applying to large corporations, remember that their recruiting may be outsourced to a third party. Sometimes the right hand and the left hand have no idea what is going on. Never assume if you don’t hear anything that they don’t want you. The reality is that you could still be in the running. I received a canned “thanks, but no thanks…we have your resume on file” e-mail from the company I now work for. I ignored the e-mail and talked to the internal talent manager as if I hadn’t heard anything. I applied for two similar positions at this company. After I was hired I received a “thanks, but we’ve gone with another candidate” for the position I was hired for!

    Once you get that first interview, make sure you have a name, e-mail, and phone number. Call periodically to politely show your interest. And always, always send a thank you whenever someone inside interviews you or helps you with information. Never expect a return phone call or return e-mail. Remember, the ownership for the outcome is on you, the job seeker.

    • Hannah Morgan May 16, 2011, 3:59 am

      Thank you for sharing your stories! It is oh so common for wires to get crossed!
      I love how you ignored the “no thank you” letter and continued to pursue the opportunity! Obviously you did it with tact and professionalism!
      I appreciate you sharing this message of persistence and determination!
      Best of luck to you always!

  • Nik November 10, 2011, 10:59 am

    Hi Hannah,

    Some really great posts. I found your blog via a retweet. Being a career coach myself I hear this every day. “Oh I don’t want to sound desperate” The link to your other post makes absolute sense. The only thing I would add is that no following might mean you actually are not interested or found a job somewhere else and that is probably the last thing you want them to think.


    • Hannah Morgan November 11, 2011, 4:33 am

      Thanks for taking the time to click through and read my blog and for your comment.

      I love the point you added, if you don’t follow up, then perhaps you are no longer interested or in the running for the job…so always follow up!

  • Carol White Llewellyn December 12, 2011, 7:48 am

    Hannah –

    Great post!

    I just had to share that many years ago when there was job I really wanted, I did follow up with a thank you and a phone call.

    I was disapointed that I did not get the job.

    Six weeks later, however, I received a phone call from one of the men I interviewed with. The first candidate had not worked out. Was I still interested? Was I ever!

    The rest is history. I began working there, and in the following years, I worked my way up to Senior Vice President in a job I loved.

    You just never know where a follow up may lead. If you leave a strong positive impression with the interviewer(s), there are far more possibilities than if you simply recede into what your resume says about you.

    • Hannah Morgan December 13, 2011, 4:56 am

      Thanks for this story Carol! You left the right impression and what a story of success!

      I once had to do the same thing. There were two finalists for a job I was hiring for. The one we ended up hiring didn’t work out and so I had to call the runner-up, who, by the way, had sent a very nice thank you which contained her contact info which made it oh so easy for me to contact her to see if she was still interested.

      As always, thanks for stopping by!