Donlin: Does 'no calls' really mean no calls?

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: November 12, 2001 - 10:00 PM

You've seen employment ads that end with "No calls please." But you really want that job. And you know it makes good sense to follow up after sending your resume to employers.

So, should you pick up the phone, or not?

If you call the Human Resources department simply to ask if they got your resume, that won't help your case.

One HR manager in Minneapolis, Minn., Steve, says: "If you call to ask about the resume you've sent, it puts me in an awkward position, because I probably won't recognize you. I simply read too many resumes to remember them all."

With that in mind, it can be productive to avoid HR and other gatekeepers by instead calling the manager you'd actually work for. Especially if the job requires persistence and determination, a well placed phone call can help. But do it right!

"Cold calling me out of the blue won't improve your chances," says Terry, a Fortune 500 manager based in Eagan, Minn. "However, if a candidate has made contact with me before or comes referred from someone I know, then I don't mind a call. If I see a good match, I can pass their name on to HR with a recommendation."

Moral? Dig your well before you're thirsty! Start expanding your network of contacts at potential employers now, so you can make more phone calls later to decision makers who know you.

Think of it like this: everybody at every company knows somebody. Call or write everybody in your network now and ask: "Do you know anyone-- personally or professionally -- who works at ABC Company?" Eventually, you'll make a connection. Then make the call.

Meanwhile, if you really want to call about a job posting that says, "No calls," make sure you bypass HR and talk to a decision maker directly. You can get names and numbers from corporate Web sites, periodicals or even by phoning the main office.

When you call, be brief, professional and informed. Offer to email or fax your resume for review and give reasons why you'd be valuable to the hiring manager. Then, send a short note to thank them for their time.

Kevin Donlin is at

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