Your materials are ready, your references lined up, you’ve thought about your interview strategy, and have found a job you want to apply for. The next steps depend on the job posting itself. In EVERY case you must follow the instructions in the posting. If it says no phone calls, do not call them! We have heard from employers that if an applicant can’t or won’t follow instructions when applying for a job, they assume they won’t follow instructions as an employee.
Note: Apply for as many jobs as you can. We often see young people who apply for a job and then go wait by the phone. It’s never that quick! Don’t expect to get the first and only job you apply for. If you apply for five jobs and get offers on two of them, then you will have a choice. Remember, just because you are offered a job doesn’t mean you have to accept.
Is it an online job application? If so, review the online application instructions on this website and go for it! You should expect to receive an email confirmation that your application has been submitted. If you don’t hear back from the employer within a week you will need to follow up with a phone call.
Are you emailing a resume from an ad in a newspaper or on a website? You should introduce yourself in the email and make a brief statement about your interest in the job. The subject of your email should refer to the job title. You should attach your resume and cover letter in pdf format from Word or Googledoc. In this situation, you can follow up by email or phone. The trick will be to find the correct person to contact.
Will you apply for the job in person? If so, make sure to dress appropriately (even if you are just filling out an application and/or dropping off a resume) you may not meet the hiring manager on that first day, but you still want to present well. Whoever you interact with, make sure to ask for the name of the manager or person whom you can call to follow up. If you don’t hear back in a week, go back or give a call to follow up.
Did you notice the word FOLLOW UP is used a lot on this page? That’s because persistence shows motivation and you want to make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in a pile somewhere. One of the key pieces of following up is knowing the name of the person to talk to. If you call and ask for the manager and get told they are not there, ask for their name and a good time to call back. Practice making the phone call. Use a script so you don’t choke: something like…
“Hello, this is (your name) and I’m calling to follow up on a (type of job: cook, dishwasher, brain surgeon) job I applied for (online, by email, etc.) last week. Is it possible to speak to the manager or person in charge of hiring?”
If No: “Okay thank you, can you tell me the name of who I should speak to and a good time to call back?”
If Yes: Repeat the first part of the above (identifying yourself and the job you applied for) and then say: I’m wondering if you had a chance to review my application and if you will be interviewing people soon?
This is where you find out:
- They are so busy they haven’t done anything – then you ask: “Do you have an idea of when you will be moving forward?”
- They didn’t get your resume and have no idea about you – then you ask: “Is there another way to submit my resume to you? I could email it or bring it in?”
- They hired someone else – then you say: “Okay thank you for your time, do you expect to have more openings soon?”
In every case you must be polite (even if you’re disappointed) and thank them for their time.
If you get called back for an interview…
- After the interview, send a quick thank you note or email for giving you a chance by granting you an interview, tell them it was nice to meet them, and reiterate your excitement about the job.
- Give it a week and follow up as above.