Job Search Persistence–How Does It Work?
In February I posted an item about “Persistence in Your Job Search and Career Management.” Recently I received an email from Shantae, who asked some good questions about persistence in the job search. Because I thought they might touch on issues some of the rest of you have struggled with, I decided to make today’s post a response to Shantae’s questions. I encourage appropriate comments and questions that might be helpful to others.
Job Postings with “No Phone Calls” Statement
Question #1: How do I stay persistent for a position that has a “no phone calls please” type of job posting? What can I do to follow up?
This question has multiple possible answers. First, if you are responding only to listed job postings, you are limiting your possibilities to the ones that have the highest amount of competition. Researching companies and networking with people who work there or know people who work there can help you unearth desirable opportunities that aren’t widely publicized.
However, if you do find listed postings that sound interesting but contain those dreaded words, “No phone calls please,” you have at least a couple of choices: (1) Call anyway and risk getting shot down. (2) Don’t call and just hope your submission hits the target (generates a phone call). I’m not trying to be funny, but choice #1 has more potential than you might think. If you do some research before you call, you can find out more about the company, maybe get the names of people who work there that you might contact, and try to gain additional information from this research that will increase the chances of your submission being well received. If you’re on LinkedIn, that’s a great place to start looking.
With regard to following up, presumably after you have submitted your resume, that’s a different issue. You can call a company to make sure your resume was received, but the odds of getting a meaningful response are slim. If you’ve actually been able to talk to someone at the company, you can at least call that person and reiterate your interest in finding out more about the position, being able to talk to people about it, and so on. Some job seekers are more assertive than others; you just need to tread a fine line between persistence and obnoxiousness. Interest and enthusiasm are acceptable; harassment is not.
Serious Job Interest versus Over-the-Top Image
Question #2: How do I make it known to the potential employer that I am a serious applicant without sounding over the top?
To me, “over the top” means making outrageous-sounding claims about what you can do and not providing evidence to support those claims–or promoting yourself too strongly for a position you’re over-qualified for. If it’s the former situation, the answer is not hard. You need to use appropriate wording and information to suggest your potential value to the organization for the target position. The key word is “appropriate.” If, for instance, you are an IT tech who has facilitated major moves with no system down time, that’s a legitimate claim and one any company can see value in. Another example is a sales rep who has captured a long-sought account or salvaged a major account that was about to jump-ship to a competitor. These are solidly-grounded value statements; they’re not “over the top.”
Basic point: You need to evaluate each situation and see whether you can take action that will move you closer to the company and the opportunity–without presenting you as someone who is a pain in the posterior! You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.