Follow Up Calls – 5 Reasons Why

From Diary of a Layoff by Greg Quirk

Over the past few days I’ve sent out probably 15 resumes, and in about half of them I added in my cover letter that I would be calling on a specific day/time to discuss the position and why I believe I am the ideal candidate.  There are three reasons for doing this.

1) The first reason is to ensure that they received your resume.  When applying to a publicly listed job chances are that the company is getting flooded with resumes.  I placed a call with a company yesterday and even though I sent my resume two days previously the HR person whom I sent it to did not have it in her inbox.  While we were on the phone, she gave me her direct e-mail address (which I will be able to use again in a week or so to see how the recruiting status is going) and I sent her my resume directly.  Since I was on the phone, she opened it, which means that a real person actually looked at my resume.  Even if I’m not a perfect match for the position I can be sure that someone took at least a few seconds to look at my resume, increasing my chances of getting some traction.

2) By letting someone know that you are going to call, and then actually following through with it (which can be a bit nerve-wracking) you are showing responsibility.  This is a quality that every company is looking for in a potential employee.  They want to know that if you are given a deadline or a project that you will be responsible enough to carry it through to the end.  By making the call you are removing yourself from the “I am a responsible person” statement in your resume or cover letter to proving it in the real world which makes it much more believable.

3) You create a sense of familiarity about yourself.  Instead of just being a name on a list of potential candidates, you have introduced yourself and let the hiring manager know what you sound like.  If the position requires someone who has solid communication skills you are demonstrating them.  Just make sure that you are prepared for the call so that you do not stumble over your words too much during the conversation.  If possible, have a copy of both your resume and the job posting in front of you, and take the time to write a few bullet points about each aspect that is listed so that you can show your experience for the quality they are looking for.

4) A resume is only a short document.  There is no way that you could write down everything that you have accomplished in your career, especially if you consolidate your resume down to one page as I suggested in yesterday’s post.  By placing the call you can try to start a conversation and hopefully the hiring manager will ask you some questions about your resume which allows you to expand on what you have done.  One line or bullet point on your resume will not describe how you achieved a specific goal, but a 30 second conversation allows you to go into some detail and explain what you did.

5) Finally, it gives you something to do.  This may sound a bit silly, but scouring the want ads, job boards, and career pages on corporate websites will not take that long.  After a few days chances are you have exhausted everything you can think of, and if you set up career alerts (available on most job boards and corporate career pages) you don’t even have to visit the sites anymore.  So what are you going to spend your time doing?  Sure you want to keep looking for new opportunities, but you will drive yourself crazy doing that day in and day out, not to mention getting yourself frustrated because you are not getting responses.  So why not switch things up and talk to some people?

Personally, I spend the first few days a week searching for new positions and sending out resumes, and then schedule all of my follow-up calls for later in the week.  This gives your resume a couple of days with the hiring manager and they may have taken the time to review it, and also bypasses some of the e-mail flood from when a posting is first listed (after receiving many applications for a position the hiring manager may not be in the mood to talk about the role if they are overwhelmed with the number of submissions).

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