To Call or Not to Call After Sending Your Resume? That’s the Question of the Day

Last week, I received the following question from a reader regarding a piece of advice I gave on cover letters.

I stumbled onto your blog today and found the resume and cover letter tips very helpful. I’m a reporter looking for my next job, and there’s something I keep wondering about — you suggest ending a cover letter with “I’ll call you to set up an interview.” It’s advice I’ve seen in lots of places, but many, if not all, of the job listings I see say “No phone calls.” One even said that anyone who attempted to call would be automatically disqualified. Many of them also say that due to the volume of responses, only people selected for an interview will be contacted.

Here’s the reality.  If the ad basically says, “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” then, my feeling is you don’t call. Chances are, it’s a human resources department running the ad and the recruiters in that department are digging thru tons of resumes to find ones that fit the job description.  If you call them, you’re probably not going to get anywhere because they’ll get pissed off that you didn’t follow directions and are resenting the fact that they have to field your call, vs. get thru their work piles.  Then the call will turn awkward and you won’t get anywhere anyhow.

However, I do suggest trying to find out who the hiring manager is and sending your resume directly to him or her and seeing where that gets you.  This involves being agressive and some of you might not be comfortable doing so.  BUT, there’s another way to look at it.  Instead of thinking of this as a negative (i.e., being pushy), position it as a positive.  If you follow up with a phone call to a hiring manager, you could say something like:  “I’m calling you directly, Mr. Hiring Manager, because I’m not looking for just any old job.  I’m looking for a job with your company. I’m being very selective in my search and focusing on a hand full of organizations that I feel I can contribute to.  Yours is one.  Can I bring you a cup of coffee and come in for an interview to discuss that job you need to fill and my qualifications?”

If you are reading this and you say, “But, Jane, what if the company name isn’t listed?”  Well, then to put it bluntly, you’re shit out of luck.  Ok, that’s not really true as a whole – just with this company. Obviously you’ve got no company name, you’ve got noboday to reach out to.  I would say, if you don’t get some sort of email acknowledgement that your resume was received, it can’t hurt to reach out again and make sure that your resume went thru. That, unfortunately, is about all you can do.

Remember, human resource folks are truly inundated with thousands of resumes.  If everyone called they wouldn’t be able to vet though the resumes and do their jobs.  That’s why they put in the “no call” clause.  Make sure your resume REALLY speaks to the job you are going after and then they should be calling YOU.

Hope this helps! Carpe diem

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