Submitting A Resume Is Not Enough: Follow Up!

Now what? You’ve had Distinctive Career Services develop an amazing, attention-getting resume for you.

You’ve applied for some jobs that are ideal. In fact, you are really, really anxious to hear back because they are more than ideal. And you know you are a competitive candidate for them.

What should you do now? Is it smart to follow-up after submitting a resume, and when is it overkill?

Identify the situation

Keep in mind that answering advertised job openings, whether you find them on LinkedIn, Indeed.com, your local newspaper, or another source, is one of the least effective but most frequently used methods of job searching. Many people have heard this advice, but don’t understand why. Here are some of the primary reasons:

  • When submitting a resume for an advertised opening, the odds are against you as you have tons of competition – In the age of the Internet, there aren’t a lot of secrets. Everyone sees the same job ads.

  • Advertised jobs are often those that are difficult to fill for various reasons – HR people cast a wide net to show the company that they’re trying.

  • Advertised jobs are often low-paying positions – In-the-know job seekers or those seeking internal promotions have already filled mid-to-high-level jobs.

  • Employers tend to hire people who are recommended vs. those who respond to ads — to avoid costly hiring mistakes.

  • Employers find advertising creates a lot of extra work — including lots of administrative time screening responses, taking calls, interviewing strangers.

  • Most jobs are filled before ads are even needed — they’re filled by trusted insiders (which is what you should strive to become through your networking activities).

  • Once it is advertised, you are probably too late. Job postings are often just a way for hiring managers to claim they’ve looked at lots of applicants when, in fact,
    they have already decided in advance on an internal hire (see the trusted insider bullet, above!).

More Bad News When You Are Submitting a Resume For an Advertised Position

So now you understand why submitting a resume for an advertised job opening is not your best strategy. I hate to break it to you, but there is more bad news.

  • You must understand that the hiring employer does not share the stress you are under during your job search. If they are paying attention, they may show some empathy, but they just do not share your anxiety.

  • The employer sees the job opening differently than you. If the employer is a quality outfit, it will have meticulously developed a job description. They prefer the resumes that map to that description. They may not see the pairing that you do, or they may already have resumes that are a better match.

  • Every hire – even a replacement hire – must be justified by the manager responsible for that operation’s budget. The manager and HR have worked at defining the job and posting, and they must make the hire that satisfies everyone.

  • Human resource departments, staffing agencies, and headhunter firms have eligible resumes in the pipeline (stored in their applicant tracking systems) that simply may impress more than yours. You may be a 99.9% fit for the position, but the other applicant might be a 100.1% fit. Unfortunately, that is just the reality.

Follow Up and Dramatically Improve Your Results

Now, I know I have painted a bleak picture.

Responding to ads is the way most people prefer to job search. But, even understanding that it is the least likely way to land you a new job, if you are job searching, I know you have sent your resume in response to an ad. It is the easiest way to conduct a job search and it is therefore where most people spend their time.

So, let me offer you a little good news. There is nothing stopping you from following up after submitting a resume. In fact, in almost all cases it is smart to follow up and can make a dramatic positive difference in your results. It is just a question of how you do it and what you can expect.

All the research you did in tailoring your resume and cover letter to the opening will pay off now.

You DID tailor your resume to the opening, right?

If not, you are probably out of luck. A generic resume broadcast to job openings is not likely to ever produce good results for you. Make sure you learn how to do this and in the future target your resume and personalize your cover letter for the opening.

If you DID already do this, great! Let’s move ahead.

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How To Follow Up & Get Results After Submitting a Resume

  • Now that you have submitted via official channels, go to LinkedIn to find a personal connection. Look through your contacts to see who you know who works
    there. Or, perhaps your connection will be a 2nd-degree connection or even a 3rd-degree connection (someone you know is connected with someone…).

  • Imagine if the HR department was asked by a senior manager at the company to “watch for a resume” from you. Once you have found that connection try this message:

Hello Jane,

I hope this message finds you well. I am applying for the Digital Media Marketing Specialist position at Aurora Flight Sciences. I’m really excited about this. It is a great company and the position is a perfect fit for my goals. I saw that your friend, John Roberts, works for Aurora. I was hoping you would feel comfortable making a connection between us, as I’d love to chat with him about his time at Aurora and my interest in this position. Thanks so much!

Warmly,
Scott

and then…

Hello John,

Thank you so much for connecting with me. I really appreciate that Jane introduced us. I am applying for the Digital Media Marketing Specialist position at Aurora Flight Sciences, and I understand you work there. I’m really excited about the position. Aurora seems like a great company and the position is a perfect fit for my goals. I was hoping you might be willing to chat with me briefly about your experience at Aurora, and if you have any insights about the open position I’d be very interested in hearing them. Thanks so much!

Warmly,
Scott

These two simple emails may lead to great things. But, don’t stop here.

  • Now, return to LinkedIn one more time. Your goal this time is to identify the hiring manager for the advertised position. The easiest way to do this is to go back to the company page and click the link to see the employees. Once you have found your likely hiring manager, you can reach out to this person directly.

  • Now that you know the name of your likely future boss, read their profile. Learn all you can about them. The more you know about the hiring manager’s work life, the better for your pitch!

  • Next, follow your “official” application by emailing your resume and a targeted, personalized e-note to the hiring manager. Make it crystal clear from your note how interested you are in the position and a personal meeting/interview. If you were able to find a connection to this person and your connection is willing to introduce you, make sure you mention this connection in your e-note.

Dear Ms. Smith:

Please find attached a copy of my resume for the General Manager position at Acme, Inc.

As an experienced operations manager I am known for my signature “everything is an opportunity” attitude, and drive for continuous improvement impacting every corner of the business. I take a pragmatic approach and pay careful attention to the bottom line and ROI of each initiative—an approach that has repeatedly driven outstanding results, such as a 288% increase in revenues, 155% increase in profits, and 27% decrease in overhead costs for my most recent employer.

My objective is to leverage this approach to drive similar growth and continued success for Acme, Inc. I am sincerely interested in the open position. While I
submitted my resume through the “official” channels, I also wanted to reach out and introduce myself personally. I’m really looking forward to meeting you to learn more about your goals and to share my insights and ideas about how I can help you achieve them.

Sincerely,
Scott Doe

Finally, it is time to reward yourself. Job searching takes hard work and persistence! While these steps take effort, when you follow them you exponentially increase the odds of achieving your ultimate goal. Now wait for a few days, but don’t wait too long. It is time to follow up. The follow up proves your sincere interest. And then…move on to the next opportunity. Commitment to your goals and persistent action is what will win you your next job!


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