Friday, April 27, 2007

Following Up on Resume Submission

I recently submitted my resume to a company where I am acquainted with the owners -- we have mutual friends of long standing and have met on several occasions over a period of years. When we last met, we spoke very briefly about possibilities and I was encouraged to send my resume to their attention.

I know my resume was delivered as I have the Priority Mail delivery confirmation information. However, it's been several weeks since I sent my resume and cover letter and I haven't heard from them.

I would like to send a follow-up letter to make sure my resume was received and to emphasize my interest in a position with their organization. I would appreciate any advice you can offer regarding the best way to frame the follow-up letter.
Many thanks, Catherine

by John West Hadley, Career Search & Career Enhancement Counselor, “Helping Job Seekers Who Are Frustrated With Their Search”

Before addressing how to frame the follow-up letter, I'm going to ask you to take a step back and ask yourself, “What’s the best way to follow up?”

Since you already have a relationship with the owners, what holds you back from simply calling one of them and asking about the situation? You’ve already written them once, and not received any acknowledgement, so will another letter get the best response? And, if the second letter doesn’t elicit a response, then what? Will you start to look desperate or anxious if you write a third, or call after a second letter generates no response?

A call has the added advantage of providing you the chance to read the verbal "body language" and react directly to whatever is said, rather than trying to interpret the written word.

Before you make the call, think carefully about the message you will convey if:
1. You reach the owner directly, or
2. You reach the owner’s voice mail, or
3. You reach an administrative assistant or other person answering their phone.

Be prepared to deliver a short, confident message, stating what your next action is going to be and when you will take it. (If it’s #3, you can ask about a good time to reach the owner.) For example:

“Jim, this is Catherine Smith at (908) 555-1212, following up on the resume you asked me to send you on the 5th. I would like to set up a meeting to explain exactly what sorts of results I could bring to Abramovitz Enterprises, and explore whether there is a fit. I am available any afternoon next week, and will follow up with you again on Friday, if I haven’t heard from you by then. My number again is (908) 555-1212.”

By the way, the next time you write a letter about an opening (or to set up a meeting), be sure to conclude by telling them what your next step will be and when you will take it. This will:
- Improve your psychology. Instead of worrying what next step to take and when, you can just mark your calendar and move on to other things.
- Send a signal of confidence that makes a stronger impression.
- Give you the chance to set yourself apart as a professional who does what she says she will, when you follow up as stated.

For more on this subject, visit this page on my website and read the article on “Are Cover Letters A Waste of Time?”

You might also be interested in my Career Tips email newsletter…you can check out the contents of past issues on my website at

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
Job Lounger, do you have a question? Email ( it to me and I’ll post your question and an expert’s answer here in The Job Lounge.

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