Career Corner - Getting on the employer's radar

You've sent out your resume and covering letter in response to that ad for your dream job and you're now wondering just what is going on with your application. Why haven't they called or emailed you to arrange an interview? You've been waiting patiently and ultimately put a halt to looking for other jobs so you'll be available for an interview. But how long should you wait?

Sound familiar? Well, all too often, we put all our eggs into one basket and effectively eliminate ourselves from other job competitions waiting to hear from a certain employer. Taking charge by following up on your application will enhance your job search and is a sure way to get on the employer's radar.

Unless an employer has declared follow up contact as totally off-limits, a simple polite email or call to check your status is a crucial part of the process. It's not worth sending applications if you're not prepared to follow-up. Employers may prefer follow-up by email, but if no email is listed, trying calling.

Here are some steps to follow:

1. When applying, make sure that you always personally address your covering letter to the hiring manager or to a person you know within the organization. Employers are looking for candidates who go the extra mile, so form letters addressed to “Whom it May Concern” are definitely out. It makes the task of following up on your resume easier if you have the name of the employer, so take the time to find out who you should be writing to and use a proper salutation such as “Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name” or “Dear Hiring Manager” if you can't find out who the person is. Explain how your skills and experience are relevant to the requirements of the position you are applying for.

2. Follow up approximately four to seven business days after you send your resume. An email or call is better than making a personal visit as that may be more of an imposition than a welcomed interruption.

3. No doubt most employers would prefer emails over phone calls, but that is really up to your discretion. If emailing, name the position you applied for and politely ask for confirmation that your application was received and reiterate your interest in the position. Reaffirm your confidence in your abilities to perform the duties associated with the position and that you would welcome an opportunity to work within the company. Close by offering to resend any information previously sent or by volunteering any information that may be requested in the future. Thank the employer for their consideration and offer your contact information one more time. If in another week, you still have not received any acknowledgement from the employer, then simply move on. If they contact you, great; if not, you won't have missed out on other jobs in the meantime.

4. When calling to follow up, prepare exactly what you intend to say to the employer. Be polite and courteous. Get over the fear of being rejected — be positive. Don't let voicemail catch you off guard either, prepare what you want to say and leave those details in your message. Identify yourself and ask the employer if they have a few minutes to talk with you. Use your call as an opportunity to make a good first impression. Get right to the point by asking them if they've received your resume and have had a chance to review it. This will provide an opportunity to begin discussion with them.

5. Be patient. It sometimes takes longer than you think for a company to sift through applications and be sensitive to the fact that the employer's timetable is different than your own. If they have not reviewed your resume, suggest you will return the call in a few days or at time convenient to them and thank them for their time.

6. If responding to an advertised position, politely ask the employer is they have shortlisted for interviews or if they have any questions for you regarding your qualifications to do the job. Be prepared to provide answers and don't be fooled by thinking this is not a preliminary interview. Your ultimate goal at this point is to impress upon the employer your relevant knowledge, skills and readiness for work. At the same time, you are creating the opportunity for a future interview.

7. Graciously accept whatever response you receive. If you haven't been selected for an interview, ask the employer if they anticipate any future openings. If so, when?Will they reconsider you or do you need to reapply? Does your resume stay on file, and if so, for how long? Ask if you can contact them again in the next month or so, if you are stilling looking, to see if any new positions have developed.

8. Close by thanking the employer for their time and by asking for some advice. Everyone loves to tell you what to do, especially if asked! Ask them if they could recommend anyone who might be looking for a person with your skills — this may result in a new networking opportunity.

9. Remember to keep a record of where and to whom you've applied to, when you spoke with them and any other pertinent follow-up information for the future.

By following up on the progress your application is making through a company, you have demonstrated your initiative and made it onto that employer's radar. Knowing the outcome of your application will also allow you to concentrate your efforts on other companies or aspects of your job search.

Need assistance with your job search or writing a resume and covering letter? Drop by the Career Services office in D1063. The Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office in D1063 to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519-452- 4294. To access job listings for Fanshawe students and graduates, visit or Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @FanshaweCS and Pinterest