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Being ‘Pleasantly Persistent’!

image “I sent in a resume…” or “I had an interview… over a week ago and haven’t heard anything.  Should I call to follow-up?” or “How much is too much when calling or emailing to follow-up?”

I get asked this question in one form or another regularly, and my standard answer is: “It pays to be ‘Pleasantly Persistent’!”

What’s that? It’s connecting multiple times in a way that draws them to you rather than giving them the urge to get a restraining order against a perceived ‘Stalker’!  It’s staying in touch and building rapport, as opposed to creating an image of needy desperation.

In most telemarketing sales, it usually takes multiple calls to make a sale.  Generally:
5% of sales are made in a 1st call
15% of sales are made in a 2nd call
80% of sales are made in a 3rd, 4th, or 5th call!

The old adage: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!” definitely applies in your job search as well.

How do you make multiple calls that build rather than damage a relationship? Think about how you might prefer to hear from someone. Here are some suggested tips:

  • Be upbeat, friendly, light hearted, and cheerful.

  • Be professional.

  • Be respectful… ask: “Do you have just a minute, or did I catch you at a bad time?”

  • Be BRIEF! Don’t ramble on, get to the point.

  • Be Prepared! Have a script so you don’t run off course.

  • Leave a well prepared voicemail if you don’t catch them.

  • Don’t leave multiple voicemail’s between conversations.

  • Alternate voicemails and emails between times you actually speak with them.

  • Try calling at different times of the day to catch them at their phone.

  • Ask them when they would recommend you follow-up.

  • Let them know you will follow-up again:
    ”I’ll check back next week to see where the process is at that point and whether I can provide any additional information that might be helpful for you then”

  • Make sure you do follow up when you said you would!

  • In each call, give them one more BRIEF reason that you are a strong fit for the position based on THEIR criteria that they’ve mentioned in the job description or interview.

If done cheerfully and professionally, these calls show your interest in the position, your follow through, and your initiative. However, set realistic expectations. In the market right now, it’s not unusual for companies to take much longer to complete their selection process for deciding who to interview and for the interview process itself.  In most cases they have to evaluate far more candidates than they did a year ago.  So if you’re sending a resume on Monday and they haven’t contacted you by Wednesday, it’s not personal.  They most likely simply have not had enough time to look at all the submittals yet.  Call them toward the end of the week, and every 4 to 7 days afterward, but ask them for a timeframe that would be best.  If they say 3-weeks, call again in two!

Now, more than ever, if you’re only doing what everyone else does (i.e. wait for their call), you will have a very LONG job search. 

In order to get noticed, you must be willing to leave your comfort zone and show more initiative… be ‘Pleasantly Persistent’!


Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!


Mary Pat Whaley said...

Great post! I found this very helpful and encouraging.

Robin Ogden said...

Nice post - I think it is important for job seekers to have a plan for follow up before they even need it. It doesn't stop after the resume is sent or the interview is completed. The follow up process/plan is equally as important. No follow up is like planting a seed and then expecting it to water itself.

Thanks for your post.

Robin Ogden

Anonymous said...

Harry, I'm glad you addressed the follow-up question, it's so important to know how to do this properly. I love what you call it: that's great!

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