You apply for a really cool job, and now you wait for the phone to ring, right? Calling the company could make you look over-eager, or even rude, right? 

Actually, no. Waiting would be a big mistake. You can’t just submit a résumé and think your work is done. Being proactive by following up is key, and now there’s research to back this up.  

I spoke to Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, and he is a big believer in reaching out to potential employers after sending in your application. 

In an Accountemps survey of human resources managers, 100 percent of respondents said job seekers should check in after submitting a résumé. Let’s put it another way: 0 percent thought following up was a bad idea. 

There’s no excuse not to touch base. Doing so demonstrates you’re highly interested in the position. It also shows off your energy, perseverance and professionalism – virtues a manager loves to see in potential employees. They know that candidates who display initiative during the recruiting process are likely to bring that quality to their work as well.

Think of it this way: Who wants to hire someone who sits back and expects things to come to them? You have to put yourself firmly in the hiring manager’s line of sight as someone who’s enthusiastic and on the ball.  

But the devil’s in the details. Here is Michael’s advice about how to go about following up: 

  • HOW. Of the managers interviewed, 64 percent prefer to receive a follow-up via email. This form of communication allows recipients to easily respond and is not an imposition on their time. The next most popular method among hiring managers is a phone call (21 percent), while only 14 percent like in-person follow-ups. Whatever you do, don’t text hiring managers – even if you somehow find their mobile number. And please don’t reach out via social media.  
  • WHEN. Following up is great. Pestering is not. Don’t contact them the very next day. Give them enough time to read your résumé and evaluate your skillset against that of your competition. But do follow up before the application window closes and your résumé is forgotten. What’s the sweet spot? Of the managers surveyed, 35 percent said one to two weeks after submitting a résumé, while 29 percent think less than a week is good. 

“Many job seekers are too ‘nice’,” Steinitz said. “They don’t want to come across as being pushy, so they wait – and wait. Hiring managers are busy. Just because you don’t hear back from them doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Following up is an excellent way to add a personal touch to your application and stand out.” 

But there’s no need for extravagant tactics.  

“A quick email should do it,” he said. “After about a week, reiterate your interest with a courteous and concise message. Also ask about the next steps. The important thing is to not miss out on the next opportunity to make a good impression.” 

Don’t settle for being just another anonymous résumé in a pile. Call attention to your enthusiasm and corporate fit with a follow-up email, and go get that job. 

 

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