Dear J.T. & Dale: I applied for a job online for which the ad said, "No e-mails or calls, please." I am used to seeing this in ads, but since I am also (unfortunately) used to hearing absolutely nothing from potential employers, I don't know how to check the status of the job. Should I call, since it's been a few weeks since I sent out the resume? — Susan J.T.: I can appreciate your frustration with this pesky request from employers. However, when they explicitly put that in the ad, they really mean it. If you call, you'll get labeled as someone who "doesn't follow instructions" and will get tossed in the Reject pile. Dale: Hold on. First, I wouldn't call it a "pesky request." If the company is throwing that in, it's because they've had hundreds or thousands of "just following up" messages. If you, as a job applicant, are just shooting off resumes, it's like buying a lottery ticket. There's no point in calling the lottery offices and asking if you've won. However, I think J.T. is overstating the danger — my guess is that by calling or e-mailing, you will NOT be blacklisted, just ignored. J.T.: Maybe so, but there are ways to circumvent the possibility while upping your chances of getting noticed. For example, you can send an e-mail to the company with a link to an article that you believe they would find of interest, along with a note saying something like this: "I saw this article on _________ and thought of your company. I found the information insightful and see how it could be of help within your company." You'd then mention that you've applied for the job and are hoping for an interview and the chance to talk further. That way, instead of breaking the "no e-mails" rule, you're sidestepping it while demonstrating teamwork. Dale: OK, with that approach you've got a shot at moving up in the line of applicants. But the best option is to GET OUT OF LINE. You do that by networking into the company. You find some friend of a friend who works there and ask him or her to pass your resume to the hiring manager. J.T.: Yes — networking is always our first choice. Further, you need to get skilled at expanding and utilizing your network so that your odds of having an avenue into a given company are increased. Dale: Take the time spent on mass e-mailing of your resume and use it to work on your network instead. You'll not only have a shot at getting to the top of the pile of applicants, but you'll have a shot at getting a job before the pile has a chance to form. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
November 22, 2009