In the last few weeks my fiancee Tag has started looking to start up her career again. She spent a few years working to get into nursing school, and then one semester in the program before realizing it wasn’t for her. She’s looking to re-enter the job market and sent out her first application last week.

She found a job on Monster.com and tried to apply through their website. Unfortunately, their website didn’t give her any option to upload a cover letter, so she went directly to the company’s site to apply there.

I’m going to go off on a tangent here because some companies make applying for a job SO FREAKING HARD! In this particular instance, this company uses some third party provider where Tag had to upload her resume and cover letter. In theory it should be convenient because she could use the same system to apply for multiple jobs (at least any other companies using this service).

Tag’s resume is only one page long. There are no images or anything fancy in it. It’s just a single, well-formatted page of text. The resume she wanted to submit was in a PDF format, because this is how everyone should submit resumes.

Here’s a tangent within a tangent: If you submit your resume in Microsoft Word, it’s like you are sending them a rough draft. It’s editable, and to me (as someone who has done quite a bit of interviewing in my day job) it is just not professional. What if you used Word 2007 but the employer uses Word 2003, and the format gets messed up when they open it? Then you look bad and they may not even want to interview you.

A resume should be a PDF. Always. This goes for the cover letter as well.

Back to the original tangent about how applying for a job can be unnecessarily difficult. This system provided an option to upload a resume as a Word document or a PDF. The maximum file size was 209kb. Again, Tag’s resume is a single page of text. The PDF version of her resume was 212kb. The system wouldn’t take it.

You can buy a 1TB External Hard Drive for about $75. There is a difference in price between internal server storage and an external hard drive, but let’s just use $75 for one TB. That means the website can store 5,128,205 resumes at 209kb for $75. What I’m trying to say is that a 209kb limit is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not even big enough for a one page PDF. Very frustrating.

At this point, she couldn’t apply through Monster.com and she also couldn’t upload a PDF to the company website. There was no other option but to upload a Word doc and hope it maintained the formatting *shudder*. Tag applied last Wednesday evening. She didn’t hear back that week so she decided to follow up on Monday.

The Job Application Follow-Up Phone Call

On Monday morning, she decided to call the company and follow up on her application. This is how the phone call went:

“Hi, my name is [insert real name] and I applied for the [insert job title] position last week. I just wanted to follow up and make sure that my cover letter and resume were received.”

phone

photo credit: ellyjonez

That’s all it takes. Why is this important? First, you really do want to make sure they received the application. In this case, they hadn’t! I don’t know if she did something wrong or if they were only looking at the applications that came directly through Monster.com, but the HR person she spoke with couldn’t find her information. This was her response:

“I don’t have your information here. Let me give you my direct email address. You can send your resume and cover letter there, and I’ll make sure to put you at the top of the stack since you called in.”

BOOM!

This is reason number two for the follow-up phone call. It shows initiative. It shows you care about the position. It shows you follow through to the very end when you start something.

Tag had to go directly to their website to find their contact information. She had to muster up the courage to call (which can be difficult, although she’s not one to be shy). It wasn’t hard, but it’s a lot more than most people do.

Especially when you are applying for a job posted to Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or any other huge site, you can expect the company to receive a boatload of resumes. It might be 10 or it might be 1,000. You are probably going to need some help to get your resume noticed, and the follow up phone call can give you that edge.

So if you don’t do this already, make sure to follow up job applications with a phone call whenever possible.

Readers: When you apply for a job, do you follow up your application with a phone call?