Over and over I hear the same complaints:
Why don’t employers call me after I send a resume? Where is the courtesy? I have plenty to offer; they should at least acknowledge that with a letter. I have spent thousands upgrading my skills, yet employers don’t even acknowledge that when they get my resume! I’m in my 30s and I hear the companies want to hire kids out of college and pay them big bucks rather than me because I’m older!
Ever since I pioneered outplacement counseling in the 1960s, I hear the same gripes. Unfortunately, these are really excuses people invent because they expect to get a job offer by staying home by the phone.
Mass resume response simply does not happen. It is not the obligation of employers to respond to a resume, solicited by an ad or not. It would be impossible for a business to function if it assigned people to respond to jobseeker letters.
Please understand. I want you to succeed, but it is not going to happen if you are not out every day, interviewing, interviewing, interviewing.
Let us say you really want to work for XYZ Corp. You have heard good things about the company from people that work there. Their policies seem to be employee friendly, they have well-paying jobs with benefits, and are not far from your residence.
My advice: Get dressed up and, if you cannot get an appointment with the head of the department you would like to join, go to the company and seek one. If you are told the executive is busy with other appointments all day, just say, "I’ll wait. Maybe there will be a cancellation. I really would like to work here."
With words like those you will garner support. Chances are the secretary or receptionist will go out of his or her way to get you in the door.
What if it does take all day to actually see the person? Three things: you succeeded with your aggressive, I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer style; you created an ally and perhaps even a friend with the receptionist/secretary; and most important, you secured the interview without a resume !
If you decide to take the more traditional route of sending a resume, do not make the same mistake I have seen time and time again: waiting by the phone for the employer to call with a job offer.
The only way to get a foot in the employer’s door is through persistent and aggressive follow-up.
For some reason, many people believe they should not have to follow up. One company told me they received 40 resumes for a job and only one person bothered to call to see about an interview!
Perhaps with all the news about the high-flying economy and extraordinary job market, some jobseekers have been deluded into thinking that all they have to do is wait for employers to come begging to hire them. This is simply not the case.
Hiring authorities are still looking for the best people. They want candidates with the right skills and experience and they want motivated individuals who expressly want to work for their company.
Follow That Resume
Following up sends a strong signal that you are interested and eager to get a position. Remember the story about how only one person out of 40 followed up after sending their resume. Guess who secured an interview?
If employers are difficult to contact during business hours, ask for their night number so you can reach them after or before work hours. Again, this shows your persistence, resourcefulness and interest in the job – qualities employers like in their candidates.
Once you have talked with the interviewer on the phone, offer to come in before or after business hours for an interview. Or, offer to meet at an off-site location such as a restaurant for breakfast or on the weekend if it is more convenient. Being very flexible will help you get the interview.
In your persistent follow-up, however, be careful not to cross the line between showing your enthusiasm and becoming a nuisance. While firms desire individuals who are enthusiastic and aggressive, they do not want people who do not exhibit good common sense. There is no need to leave several messages a day or send several copies of your resume.
Following the first interview, too many individuals become complacent and believe: "I can relax now until I hear back from them." Your mindset should be like that of the Energizer Bunny: Keep going and going and going until you get the offer.
You cannot let your job search hinge on one company or one job. Do not take anything for granted. You need to create as many opportunities as you can.