Q. I’ve sent emails to more than 40 agencies in search of internship or entry-level jobs. I’ve followed up by email and phone calls with places that list job openings, but have only heard back from one or two firms. How many times should I follow up before moving on? Any other tips? -CB
A. Regrettably, understaffed HR functions in many agencies sometimes are forced into bad business etiquette. Every email job inquiry deserves a response, but that isn’t happening in the current economic times. My follow-up rule of thumb recommendation: two follow-up inquiries with organizations where you know there is a job opening — one by email and one by phone. If your inquiry is by email, don’t ask: “Did you get my resume?” Attach another resume. If calling, do so 48 hours after sending your resume. Otherwise, it already will be buried under others. If there are no job openings in the agency, loop back with another email and resume in six weeks or so.
Ideally, check with friends to see if they know anyone within any agency with a job opening. Even in this economy, many agencies pay referral fees to individuals who recommend job candidates that are hired. If there is an active job opening in the agency, non-executive staff members have a real incentive to get your resume into the system.
Finally, 40 emails and resumes isn’t enough. Long ago when I was searching for a job during another recession, I told a colleague that I had received no responses after sending out 70 resumes. She asked: “Today?” She reported working full time on her earlier job search, sending out up to 70 resumes a day. Within three months, she had accumulated five job offers. I told her advice, ramped up my search efforts and landed a job within 30 days.