How to Follow Up on a Job Application
"I'm tired of submitting a resume and hearing nothing back."
Does this sound familiar? We have found that most job seekers can relate to this sentiment, and that one of their biggest challenges is that they are experiencing the all too common "resume black hole" issue. We wish we knew exactly how many job seekers followed up in another way outside of simply applying to a job posting online. We can tell you, however, that taking one additional outreach measure is not a common job seeker protocol, yet it can make a huge difference in being considered for a position.
When you ask people "what was the most successful strategy you found for identifying job prospects that actually resulted in an interview?" you will likely hear a response such as:
- "I connected with a Recruiter who presented several relevant opportunities to me."
- "I leveraged my network to get my resume in the hands/inbox of the right person/people to help me."
- "I reached out directly to the person supporting the hiring efforts for that opportunity."
Various studies over the last 5 years have all reported that less than 10% of applications via a company's website ever get seen by a Recruiter or other member of the hiring team. As a job seeker, one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is to try and connect directly with the individual responsible for staffing/hiring that role. That is likely the:
- Corporate Recruiter, Talent Acquisition Specialist or Talent Manager at the company
- Recruiter, Staffing Specialist, or Talent Specialist at a Staffing firm
(SIDE NOTE: These are the main job titles we have seen for these individuals, and they may vary depending on the industry and company).
But how exactly can you get connected with these folks (outside of applying via a website and hoping someone sees your resume and reaches out)? Here are our top 3 suggestions we have seen be successful around this recommended "Outreach Protocol!"
Scenario #1 – Outreach protocol for a job posted is for a Staffing/Recruiting Firm
The job of the Recruiters at a staffing firm is to speak with job seekers. If we can't rely on them to always see our applications, we can certainly reach out to them directly. Do a quick online search to find the phone number of the local staffing firm, and call in to speak to a Recruiter.
These are all pretty short and sweet, which is the goal! Make sure to include your name, your situation, the types of jobs you are targeting, and the Job/Requisition # if you have one from a job they have posted on their website.
Scenario #2 – Outreach protocol if you know someone who works at the Company
Say you come across a job at a non-staffing firm in your area, and you know someone who works there. Maybe it's a past colleague or a member of the local SQL Server User Group/Meetup. Even if it is someone you have only met a handful of times, don't be shy about reaching out. If you have their phone number or email, you can contact them that way. If not, you can send them a message via Meetup or LinkedIn.
Scenario #3 - Outreach protocol for a non-staffing firm where you do not know anyone who works there
There are two approaches you can take in the situation where you see a job posted for a company you are interested in where you do not know anyone who works there, and you have no first degree LinkedIn connections who work there.
First, you reach out to the Recruiters at the staffing firms that you have speaking to who you like and directly ask them "Do you have a contract with ABC Company?" and if they do, ask "Are you supporting the Manager who has an opening for a _____?"
Second, visit one of your job searching best friends, LinkedIn, and do an advanced search to identify a member of their internal talent acquisition team. Go to the ‘People' search, and then select the following boxes:
- Select the name of the company in the "Current Company" box
- Add in "Locations"
- In the "Title" box, write out "Recruiter" or "Talent Acquisition" or "Talent Manager"
Example Screen Shot from LinkedIn:
Once this populates results, send a message to an individual who appears to be the right person, i.e. a Corporate Recruiter/Talent Acquisition professional at that company locally, to let them know you are interested in working at their company and for a specific type of role.
As you are job searching now or in the future, remember that you can't rely on applying for a job you see posted on a website and expect that your resume/application will get seen. The average posting gets over 450 applications, and less than 5-10% of applications will get viewed by a Recruiter. Therefore, take one additional outreach measure and try to get connected with someone who is responsible for the hiring of that role!
Is the position at a staffing firm? Find the phone number for the local office, call in, explain your situation quickly and ask to be transferred to the Recruiter who supports your skill set or target role/s!
Ask yourself "Do I know anyone who works at this company?" If you do, reach out to them via email, phone, Meetup message or LinkedIn message and inquire if they know about that opening, and if they could possibly pass along your resume directly to the Manager!
If you do not know anyone who works there, and it isn't a staffing firm, you can either 1.) reach out to the Recruiter(s) at the staffing firms you have been in contact with and ask "Do you support this company? The Manager who has this opening?" OR 2.) do an advanced LinkedIn search and send a LinkedIn message to one of the company's Talent Acquisition team members if you identify one!
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