You've sent your résumé to several companies and have yet to hear back. But just because they aren't calling doesn't mean they aren't interested. It's not uncommon for hiring managers to become so busy that they postpone notifying -- or even selecting -- candidates for as long as one or two months after posting an employment ad. Don't let this discourage you. Instead, take action to see where you stand. In today's competitive market, following up after submitting a résumé is not only warranted, it's recommended. An overwhelming 94 percent of executives polled by Robert Half International said candidates should contact hiring managers after submitting application materials. Why? Because it demonstrates initiative and sincere interest in a position and can help you stand out in a crowd of other highly skilled candidates. So, what's the best way to follow up with prospective employers? There's no one-size-fits-all formula, but it helps to know the basic rules. The following pointers will help you be more proactive without becoming a pest:
When should I make my move?
Following up too quickly may annoy hiring managers, but letting too much time pass can take you out of the running. Eighty-two percent of executives polled by Robert Half International recommend contacting the company within two weeks of sending a résumé. That's approximately the length of time hiring managers need to review application materials and get back in touch with candidates.
What is the best way to follow up?
An e-mail, phone call or handwritten note all are acceptable forms of communicating with hiring managers, according to executives surveyed by Robert Half International. E-mail can be a great tool for reminding recruiters that you've applied for a job and resubmitting your résumé without seeming too pushy. If you have a name and number, you may have more luck with a follow-up phone call. Just make sure to rehearse what you will say beforehand and call when you think the person is likely to be free -- early in the morning or late in the afternoon, for example. Keep your conversation brief and to the point. Only leave a message if you've gotten his or her voicemail at least twice. You also can write a letter to determine if the position for which you applied is still open. A personalized note is a great way to express genuine interest in the job and indicate that you're not submitting blanket résumés; just realize you may have to be a bit more patient in receiving a response.
What should I do if I applied for a job online and there is no contact information?
If you at least know the name of the company to which you applied and, perhaps, the department and job title, a little sleuthing may help you identify the hiring manager. Search for the company on the Internet and use the contact information provided on its Web site. When you reach the firm, ask to speak to the person in charge of the job opening for which you applied. If no contact information is available, you can at least send a follow-up e-mail to the same address to which you sent your résumé.
What key points should I communicate?
In addition to expressing continued interest in the position, job seekers should reiterate the value they can bring to the organization by citing specific professional accomplishments and in-demand skills they possess. These examples should relate in some way to the requirements of the open position. Ultimately, the method for contacting a prospective employer is less important than the action itself. A short, simple message often is enough to motivate a hiring manager to take a closer look at your application materials. If you don't receive a response after all your efforts, it's safe to assume you may not be in consideration for the job. Unfortunately, some companies only respond to candidates they will be contacting for an interview. Not every job will be a fit and not every hiring manager will get back to you. But you can at least take some consolation in knowing you did everything within your power to be a contender.