Resume Follow-Up: When and How?

Follow Up post-it note

You see a job that seems perfect. You tweak your resume and eagerly upload it to the company portal. Then, silence.

What happened? Did they get it? Should I follow up? How do I check?

I often hear these questions from students and young professionals. Sadly, resume receipt confirmation is no longer a common courtesy. So, applicants must decide if, when and how to follow up when their resumes appear to have fallen into the Twilight Zone.

As a rule of thumb, don’t follow up immediately. Give the firm three business days to check applications in the portal, but never wait more than 10 days. Waiting too long might imply lack of interest and initiative on your part.

If it’s a job you really want, I encourage applicants to tap their networks and LinkedIn to find someone who knows someone who works at the firm. Getting someone to vouch for you internally is the best way to land an interview. But that’s not always possible, so I asked three outstanding recruiter for their advice on how to navigate the “black hole” of online applications.

Tina Dugas of Bloom, Gross & Associates confirms that online portals generally don’t provide an option for follow-up, even via the no-reply generic ‘thank you’ response that most automatically trigger. “However, if the application process allows for attaching links to work, articles, etc., include a very select couple of items that parallel the example with the job requirements. That may help to open the door.” recruiter Travis Kessel agrees, suggesting that you can set yourself apart from other applicants if you do something memorable. He suggests sending a “media kit” about yourself.

Paladin’s Chris Mordi recommends that you provide “a very short business case that you tackled, something relevant to what the hiring organization might be facing.” Include the business challenge/objective, some of the tactics you used to address the challenge/objective and the results – numeric results. Cite number of placements, increases in social media engagement, bump in organic traffic to a website, additional sales, or increases in foot traffic.

“These little bits of information will show that you understand how communications not only generates awareness for a company, but also quantifiable business results,” Chris says. “You’ve got to spoon feed me (the recruiter) some of the reasons I should hire you. There’s not much that speaks louder than numbers. Show me some quantifiable results.”




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