Why Don't They Call?

It is the worst feeling in the world -- to put yourself out there and not get a call back. I don’t care if you have nerves of steel and emotions like a bull, no one wants to feel like they have been overlooked, ignored, or rejected. No one.

Add to that the emotional roller coaster of being unemployed, for months or years, and it can be brutal. Sometimes there are reasons the phone hasn’t rung and the emails haven’t started to flow, and I wanted to address some of those issues this week.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about applying online for jobs, but then it becomes all about the follow up, and in the age of electronic resumes, forms, and email, what is the best way to do that?

Here are some things to remember:

1) Not Everything is Online:  According to Rich Milgram, CEO of the Beyond.com Career Network, the old rules still apply. “The key is to follow up with an HR representative or hiring manager with a phone call or a personalized letter letting them know that you applied to a job with their organization. Going through the proper channels is absolutely recommended, but making that extra effort to connect with the person making the hiring decisions is paramount.“

That means you’ve got to do some research and find out the phone number or direct email address of the person making the hiring decision or screening resumes. That bit of resourcefulness can go a long way with those in charge.

2) Apply Twice:  Since unemployment is still above 8%, the competition for jobs continues, so why not submit then re-submit that resume? Nothing says “pay attention” like putting your profile, online resume, or portfolio through a couple of times. If the person was half asleep or distracted the first pass at your resume, there is a good chance the second time they review it, it will get noticed.

3) Check Listings Daily: When you applied for that sales position at Macy’s, did you look at the date the job was posted. Just because a position is still on the website doesn’t mean the job is still available. In this current market, the minute a position is posted, the resumes begin to pour in. If the posting is more than two weeks old, you’ve applied, and heard nothing back, there could be a valid reason. By all means, submit your application again, but it’s just something to keep in mind. Your ego will thank you!

4) A Job Posting Doesn’t Equal a Job Available: The dreaded term “internal candidate” should be something to always consider. You may have the qualifications, background, and salary requirements that are a perfect match for a job, but employers are legally required to post ALL jobs, and much of the time, the posting is a not an actual position. If you can get through to someone on the phone, or find a polite way to ask that question via email, your ego will thank you.

5) Walk Through the Door: When all else fails, nothing says aggressive like showing up. I’m not saying turn into Alec Baldwin’s stalker, I’m just suggesting that it never hurts if possible to visit the business in person. Just (again, politely) say that you applied for a position and wanted to see if there was someone available for you to follow up with. You never know…

So much of the time the reason you didn’t get the job had nothing to do with you, your resume, your age, or your qualifications. There are usually factors out of your control. At least by following up with someone in HR or management, you will know you did everything to apply and put yourself out there. That’s all you can do, and that should be a needed confidence boost while you are on the job hunt.