Sent in Your Resume but Haven’t Heard Back? Here’s Your Next Move…

time on computer

In this busy season, we’re all dealing with a little extra on our proverbial plates.

Whether you’re on day five of all-family-all-the-time, out volunteering in your community, or just trying to make it to 2018, adding¬†anything on top of your job search can leave you feeling frazzled, and even worse, completely out of control.

This time of year, lot’s of job seekers experience the all-too-familiar waiting game. You send off your of resume, and then, you just kind of wait. It can be maddening; we know the feeling.

But here’s a friendly reminder! On the other end of what may seem like an application-black-hole, there sits one (or two or three) hiring managers or HR professionals doing their best to spot the most talented and appropriate candidates, often among hundreds. And don’t forget, these same folks are often juggling many of the things that you are this time of year: work, family, holidays, vacation, volunteering, etc.

So, if you sent in your resume a while back and you’re wondering whether or not it’s cool to reach out real quick even though the listing on specifically said “No inquiries, please,” we have a tool for you!

Use this handy decision tree to determine whether or not you should hit send on that innocent follow-up email you’ve been drafting.


idealist careers decision tree


While it may not hold the sage wisdom you were hoping for, we do hope that it elicited a chuckle (and convinced you to hold off on that email?).

Have you resisted the urge to reach out even when the job listing requests your patience with the process? How did it go? Any regrets? Incredible success stories? Are you a hiring manager with two cents to add? Share it all the comments!

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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    • Chris
    • January 13, 2018

    A couple of years ago I applied for a job for a fairly senior position with an organization I had respected – one where I had been a client for at least a decade. It’s a savvy organization, one where you would think they would be capable of putting an autoreply on the jobs mailbox that said, “Thanks! We got your resume and we will/will not be back in touch.” But, yeah, it went into the black hole.

    So two or three weeks later I went back and re-read the ad, really really carefully, to see if they’d stated “no inquiries.” And they hadn’t. I found other ads where they *had* indicated that, so I carefully came to the conclusion that they had omitted it intentionally, and that a follow-up emphasizing my interest might be received well.

    A couple weeks later this post appeared on their blog, written by the hiring manager:

    From that post, I concluded two things:
    1) That guy is a complete ***, and I’m really glad I didn’t end up working for him
    2) Even if the ad *doesn’t* say “no inquiries please,” even if you’re really careful about that, odds are you’re probably not helping yourself by sending it.

    I would hope a few hiring managers are reading this.
    1) It’s really not hard to set up a mailbox for your job openings, even a mailbox for every individual job opening, and put an autoreply on it that says, “Thanks for applying!” It probably will make your life easier to have those messages in a different spot in your inbox, and it will save you some number of inquiries from people who only genuinely want to know that they got their materials to the right place.
    2) It’s really not hard, in that email, to say, “Here’s the timeframe where you can expect to hear from us.”
    3) It’s really not hard, in the end, to send everybody who applied a short email that says, “Thanks for applying, but we can’t offer you a position at this time.”

    I’ve made it a practice to do all these things as a hiring manager, and I don’t have any more time in my day than you do. You’re at least nominally in a field where you’re trying to do the right thing and make the world a better place. Maybe you can extend that to the way you conduct your hiring.

      • Maggie
      • January 18, 2018

      Thanks, Chris. I appreciate that hiring managers like you are still out there. When I have personally been in the hiring role, I have certainly tried to be the same. It is more the exception that the rule, however!

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