Don’t Let Your Resume Fall Through the Cracks: Follow-Up Tips

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No matter how beautifully formatted your resume may be, hiring managers will pass you over time and time again if it doesn’t capture their attention. To do this, you’ll need a concise summary and a standout work history, and you’ll need to frame your resume with a thoughtful and relevant cover letter .

But you’ll also need to reach out to your potential employers after you submit these documents, just to make sure they fall into the right hands and are given a complete and fair consideration. Here are a few follow-up tips that can help with this part of the process.

Resume Follow-Up Tips

Heed this advice, and your resume will help you land more interviews: 

1. After you submit, wait for an acknowledgement for two business days. If you don’t hear back (in the in the form of a personal or automatically generated response), reach out by phone or email. Keep your message short, simple, and respectful. Just state that you’ve applied and you’re checking in to make sure your materials were received.

2. Be ready to leave a voice message. Chances are, the person you speak to on the phone won’t be the same person who receives your resume. And there’s a strong possibility you’ll be asked to leave a voicemail message instead of speaking with a real person. So know exactly what you intend to say beforehand and don’t ramble or trail off. 

3. Keep to a schedule, but don't pester. After two days and one round of follow up, you can begin a regular follow-up pattern and check in once every three to five days. More than this and your messages may become redundant and unwelcome. 

4. Stick to the employer's timeline. Stop following up if you receive a clear response timeline and the timeline hasn’t elapsed yet. For example, if you’re told that you’ll hear from the company within two weeks, don’t call back two days later. 

5. Each time you follow up, think of this contact as an opportunity—not an intrusion or a chore. If you do reach a live person on the phone and you’re given a chance to say something about who you are and what you’re looking for, feel free to offer some detail about how interested you are in the position and why you think this job is a match for your skills.

6. Keep in mind that recruiters and employers aren’t the same. Follow up boldly and cheerfully if you’re dealing directly with a company you hope to work for, but show a little more restraint if you’re talking to a recruiter. Recruiters are working for their employer clients, not you, so if they aren’t responding to your emails and voice messages, don’t take this personally. And if the line goes silent, don’t keep calling—just move on with your search. 

A Strong Resume Speaks for Itself, But Following Up Helps

Diplomatic follow-ups can add impact to an already great resume, or help an average set of credentials stand out in a crowd. For more on how to draw attention to your resume and land the job of your dreams, explore the resume formatting tools on LiveCareer

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