Common advice that is given to job seekers is to follow up their résumé submission with a call. The thought behind that has always been that follow-up calls can help them stand out and avoid getting lost in the shuffle of all the emails that can be gotten in a day.
Then I read a very interesting article in the New York Times about how calling someone is falling out of favor, and that made me wonder if the change toward telephone usage provides a challenge to that advice.
A study conducted by Tim Tyrell-Smith of Tim’s Strategy seems to support the “do not call” notion that was rattling around in my head. He talked with hiring managers about how job seekers should follow up after having an interview. His data suggested that a phone call after an interview was not a very popular choice, which led me to think that a call at the résumé submission stage would be even less desired. After all, at that point you don’t even know if the company is interested in you, right?
So I went on Facebook to ask some career experts what they thought, and it proved to be an interesting conversation!
You should follow up with a phone call if…
Some folks felt that a follow-up call is important, but some consideration should be taken before you pick up the phone and say, “Uh, I’m following up on the résumé I sent last week.”
Hannah Morgan of Career Sherpa had a great suggestion to keep the phone calls from being considered a disturbance.
“The key is to find someone inside a company who will take your call… Using your network is SO important. It could be the receptionist who becomes an ally or perhaps an informant. The key is being really nice and ‘other focused.’”
So there’s an important twist — using your network! It makes perfect sense to call a person you know to find out what’s going on instead of directly calling HR. Maybe there has been an unexpected delay that causes the hiring process to be put on hold for a month. It’s a lot easier to get that information from a known contact than to feel like you are cold calling the person who has reviewed your résumé. Plus, it reminds the contact that you have applied for a job and may give an opportunity for your name to be brought up in office conversations.
Kristin Johnson of Profession Direction agreed with Hannah’s suggestion of using your network. She said:
“Having a broad base of connections to help facilitate an informational interview is really the only way to get in touch with anyone. Sending emails or making phone calls to people you don’t know is just not a productive use of your time.
Karen Burns, author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, had this to say:
“If you are GREAT on the phone, then you might want to use that advantage. Yes, most of us hate phone interruptions but if the other person turns out to be charming, informative, and as Hannah said ‘other-focused,’ then the interruption may turn out to be a bright spot in the day. People are making fewer and fewer phone calls nowadays, which means that your phone call might stick out for being an ‘unusual’ way of making a contact.”
So if you can not only get people on the phone, but have them wanting to talk with you because you are so engaging, go for it! But, if your phone skills are, at best, so-so, or perhaps have a condition that impacts your speech, it’s wisest to choose a different route to contact your prospective employer.
But… there is more to this conversation. I will include the second half of the exchanges in my next post!
Image courtesy of Thomas Duesing
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