Kelly Donovan
Principal, Kelly Donovan & Associates
  • LinkedIn strategist & profile writer
  • Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
  • Certified Hidden Job Market Coach (CHJMC)
  • Outplacement provider
  • Speaker & trainer
  • Globally recognized work (TORI nominee)

I help execs leave jobs that aren't fun anymore and land their dream jobs!

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What to Do Next After Applying

OK, so you’ve applied for that shiny new job opening… now what? Sit and wait?

What has worked well for other clients of mine is a short, targeted followup, usually via LinkedIn or email. This is assuming that you don’t know someone at the company who’s going to help you out, which is the ideal situation.

The question, of course, is who to contact.

If it’s a big company with in-house recruiters, I’d go that route and look for the most appropriate recruiter to contact (hint: if the job was posted on LinkedIn, look to see who posted the job on there!).

If it’s a smaller or mid-market company, I’d probably try to figure out who the likely hiring manager (eg., your potential future boss) is. If you’re applying to be the VP of Candlestick Making for North America, is there perhaps a COO you can find on LinkedIn? Or the SVP of Global Candlestick Making?

This does involve guesswork; you’ll have to be comfortable with this being an inexact science. Yes, you might send it to someone who isn’t the actual decision maker; he or she might pass it along to the decision maker, or ignore it.

However, the risk of not reaching out in the first place is that you will be ignored anyway, since research shows you have only ~3% chance of getting an interview by applying online (unless you listed one of their employees as a referral source when you applied or have someone you know at the company advocating for you).

Example of a LinkedIn note to your potential future boss or a relevant internal recruiter:

Hello Mr. Jones,

I just applied for the VP of Candlestick Making position on your website, and just wanted to reach out personally to convey my excitement about the opportunity. I’ve slashed candlestick making costs by 15-22%, streamlined manufacturing processes, and pioneered new candle scents like the best-selling “Rustic Garage.” I would love to talk with you about the value I could bring to Acme Company; I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Jane Doe

Notice how short and concise it is. We’re in the era of short attention spans, so don’t go longer. If you’re sending it on LinkedIn, the recipient can simply click through to your profile to read more about your qualifications. And if their interest is piqued, they’ll go fish out your application from the 150+ other applications in the system. There’s no guarantee of getting an interview, but at least you’re not just sitting around waiting.

P.S.: If sending by LinkedIn, be sure to include your email address and phone number below your name so they have that handy.

For more on the mechanics of how to find someone, figure out their email address, or contact them on LinkedIn, read my article on how to contact a hiring manager.

Don't hire a resume service until you read..."Questions to Ask a Resume Service"


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"I had four headhunters find me on LinkedIn and contact me, and my resume did a great job of showing what I can bring to a company. I'm very excited to be starting my new job. I highly recommend Kelly's services and will be referring friends to her." -Phil F., Director of Business Development, Los Angeles area (via LinkedIn)

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