Telephone Follow-up

Following up on CV’s/resumes is a critical part of any job search, even if doing so is about as much fun as getting knee surgery. Studies have shown that for every 350 cold CV’s or resumes received, a company will interview one to two people; for those who follow up on resumes that they’ve mailed, the batting average rises to 1 interview for every 17 contacts.

A tip on following up: don’t call to “see if you received my CV” (a common, but very tired line). Instead, prepare a script that has a hook in the first 5 to 10 seconds (that’s really all you have before the person on the other end of the line falls asleep). Try something like this: “My name is Arnold Ziffel, and I have a background in senior marketing management of pork products sold to Kroger, Albertsons and other major supermarkets. I recently sent you my resume. I am going to be in Schenectady on March 14, and also in early April, and would like to stop by when I’m in town to introduce myself.” (That takes 15 seconds to deliver, and the person is either hooked or ignoring you after the first 6 seconds).

If you can’t get through to Ms. Big directly, don’t leave messages with her assistant (there’s no way the assistant will write down your entire message accurately, and in addition, he or she is also likely to refer you to human resources, which is not where you want to go). Instead, leave a voice mail message if you can’t get through to the right person after a few tries.

Make sure you use different scripts with different types of companies (non-pork-producers will not be impressed by your pork background, but may be interested in your food marketing ability). When I was the sales manager for a $3-million housewares company and looking for work years ago, a similar script left on voice mail landed me an appointment with the president of a name-brand, $500-million housewares manufacturer.

Also, place your calls when there is a greater chance of connecting with Ms. Big – that means before 8AM, at lunch time, and after 5PM.