Unless you personally hand your resume to a hiring manager, you don’t know if the appropriate person received it. Instead of missing job opportunities, take steps to follow up on resumes and applications you’ve submitted. If possible, before you apply to a position, try to get the name and contact information of the hiring manager to address your cover letter to. Not only will this show a hiring manager you do your homework, but it also helps when you follow up on your submission.
If your resume is submitted to the human resources department or hiring manager through a contact in the organization, your chances of getting an interview are much greater than when you apply online. Ask your contact to notify you when he or she delivers your resume, wait two to three days and if you haven’t heard anything, make a follow-up call or send an email to the hiring contact.
If you are applying to a position online, remember an employer may receive hundreds of resumes for each position and may screen them through an applicant tracking system. A hiring manager may never see your resume unless you follow up. Following up on your resume is important for these reasons:
- Confirms your resume arrived and the right person received it
- Shows your level of interest and commitment to the position
- Brings your name and resume to the hiring manager’s attention
- Separates you from others, showing you understand the importance of following up
There are no exact rules regarding how long you wait to follow up and the method you should use, but it is always important to:
- Have a positive tone in any email you send or call you make
- Be prepared and practice a script
- List any questions you may have
- Have one or two reasons why you are a good fit for the position, in case you are asked
If you are unable to speak with the hiring manager, ask if you can speak with his or her assistant. Introduce yourself, name the position you’re seeking and consider asking questions similar to the following:
- Can you check to see if you have received my resume?
- Has the interview timeframe been set?
- What is the scheduled timeframe for filling the position?
- May I follow up again in a week?
Additional follow-up suggestions
Create a chart to track your submissions and plan your follow-up. As you develop your schedule, consider the following:
- If the position states a closing date, wait a week after the deadline before you follow up to give the company a chance to process the resumes they’ve received and begin scheduling interviews.
- If no closing date is stated, wait a week after you apply before you follow up. You may only be able to speak with a receptionist, or possibly an assistant, but strive to make a good impression, ask questions and, if appropriate, request assistance or advice.
- If the listing states “no calls,” follow the rules and don’t call.
- Never resend the same resume and cover letter multiple times for the same position. Only re-send if requested by the employer.
- Stay upbeat and positive in all interactions.
You may not hear back from every employer, but try not to take it personally. If you’ve followed up three times with no response, move on with your job search. The company may have filled the position internally, lost funding for the position, decided not to hire at this time, found a more qualified candidate or stalled hiring for another reason.
When an employer contacts you in response to your resume, the first step may be a phone interview. They may request you complete tests or provide additional information before they schedule you for an in-person interview. Review the following articles to help you prep for your interview:
- Preparing for an Interview
- Interviewing Skills Module
- Phone Interview Etiquette
- When You're Turned Down for a Job
Call 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on MySECO to speak with a career coach to discuss interviewing and ask for a resume review to make sure your resume shines. Coaches are available to help you determine options, suggest recommendations and assist you with all aspects of your career or education planning.