Ask Matt: Don't Foul Up In The Follow Up

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: March 16, 2009 - 12:00 PM

Is it possible to be too aggressive in a job search? Can you follow up too much?

Dear Matt: Is it possible to be too aggressive in a job search? Can you follow up too much?

Matt: Twin Cities HR guru Arlene Vernon (www.arlenevernon.com) recently received about 200 resumes for an administrative position she is looking to fill. She openly admits she doesn't have time to respond to every follow-up phone call or e-mail. That's why when following up on a position you need to make that call or e-mail stand out from the crowd. Don't just state your name and ask about the status of the position, state your name and create your own sales pitch, says local career guru Kevin Donlin (thesimplejobsearch.com). "Think of your voice mail message as a 30-second radio commercial," says Donlin. "That means you should script and rehearse every voice mail you leave for employers. While other job seekers leave rambling, unplanned, unprofessional messages, you'll give employers one more reason to hire you."

Example: "Hi, this is Steve Jones. I just wanted to make sure you received the resume and cover letter I e-mailed you on Monday for your accounting position. I thought you might want to discuss the part where I saved $27,000 last year for a firm just like yours. If so, please give me a call at 612-555-1212. Thank you!"

If you are following up via e-mail, use that same strategy and language to catch the reader's attention. Do whatever it takes to sound enthusiastic and explain how you can bring the company a solution to their problems.

Vernon admits that some hiring managers get turned off by repeated follow-up inquiries, but it's certainly helpful to be diligent and follow up within a week of sending the initial resume. If you do actually get the hiring manager when calling, ask if they received the resume and then ask for his or her timeline for hiring and when it would be appropriate to contact them again. Respect those wishes.

"The last thing you want to do is irritate the hiring decision maker," says Vernon.

Figuring out how much to follow-up is different for every recruiter. If you put the time and effort into submitting your resume to the company, be aggressive and continue to follow-up if you don't hear from someone. I recommend calling or e-mailing once a week for five weeks. After that, if you do not hear back, chances are they are moving ahead with other candidates.

You can be too aggressive, but in the job search, you need to do whatever you can try and separate from the pack.


Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has nine years of experience reporting on the employment industry. This column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to askmatt@startribune.com.


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