The Art of Following Up Your Résumé

The Art of Following Up Your ResumeA client recently sent his résumé to a contact he developed. Upon not hearing anything back after a week, he asked me:

“Should I contact [name] again?”

The answer to this question really depends on how the follow-up is framed. Let’s look at the scenarios:

Scenario 1:

You send out an email to your contact that says, “Did you get my résumé?” The answer, in all likelihood, would be, “Yes.”

…And then where does the conversation go? There really wouldn’t be anything else to say. You asked a question, you got an answer — it’s done.

It’s not a very good tone to leave things on for a few reasons:

  • The interaction is very self-serving, focusing only on you and your need to make sure that your résumé got its 15-second (if that) bit of attention.
  • It doesn’t give the contact an incentive to seriously consider you further.
  • It can be considered an annoying interruption in the push to get projects wrapped up before the end of the year.

Scenario 2:

You send an email to your contact like this:

Hello Mr./Ms. Contact,

This is [your name]. I am a member of ABC Organization; I heard you speak on X topic at the membership meeting this month, and we had an interesting conversation after your presentation.

I recently read an article on X topic, and it reminded me of some of the talking points you made. Here’s a link to the article:

“Is X Topic Great?” by Jane Doe

What are your thoughts on Ms. Doe’s take?

Thank you, and have a great day!

[your name]

your email
your phone number

An few important points to note about this correspondence:

  • There is no reference back to the résumé that was sent. In all likelihood, the person did get it. However, asking about it makes you appear needy and self-serving (see scenario 1).
  • Reaching out with something that could be of value to the contact (like an article) helps to establish you as someone who could be an asset.
  • It starts to build a relationship.

The choice is pretty clear when you look at the two together like this, but it’s so easy to default to the first scenario because you want an answer. Resist the urge to ask about your résumé early on in conversations, and you open the door to opportunities for meaningful engagement that can lead to greater things.

How do you usually follow up with a contact?

Image courtesy of Bobbie Johnson

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