Thursday, October 8, 2009

No Reply

It's been several years since I've applied for a job, and in the meantime I've filled my head with endless amounts of information about the publishing industry. How to write the perfect query letter, how to self-edit, what is a normal amount of time to wait (for a variety of things), and the big question that causes endless amounts of debate -- should an agent respond to every single query?

We can discuss this all day (personally I've queried agents who work both ways) but my point today is that now, as I'm sending out resumes and query -- er, cover -- letters I've forgotten what the standard protocol is. Do potential employers respond to everyone? Do they send a "no thanks" email? Or do they save their time and energy for the applicants they're interested in, leaving the others to wallow in eternal no-man's-land?

I'm thinking it's option 3. It makes sense, especially in this economy*, because I can only imagine how many responses they get to a single job posting and it'd be ridiculous for them to reply to everyone. (Which also gets me thinking about agents again, and why it is we expect them to respond to EVERY query, but I said I wasn't going there today…).

One job I've applied for DID say they'll only contact those who are short-listed, and at least they gave a time frame.

So am I right? Do employers only reply to those they're interested in?

*A blogger that I follow regularly always says IN THIS ECONOMY! anytime he refers to the current economic problems, and it took all my will power not to type that above. Writing it here seems to be enough to get it out of my system.

Finally, please send good wishes to my grandmother. She's having spinal surgery today.


Jenna said...

Yes, employers only reply to the applicants they are interested in.

We are facing the same thing right now (Heath lost his job on Monday) and we have a really great book about finding work and some great statistics on sending out resumes. One tip...FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP. This book says your chances of getting face to face with someone who can hire you jumps exponentially when you follow up with the person who can hire you.

Of course it also says to mine your personal connections and research potential companies and go directly to their websites to look for postings because the best positions in the best companies are rarely advertised--which has already proven true as I've looked at certain companies that look like they'd be great to work for and there are postings on their sites I don't see on any job boards or in any job listings.

Good luck Mel!

Melanie Avila said...

Oh Jenna, I'm so sorry. I know he wasn't thrilled there, but that doesn't mean he wanted this. Ugh. I'm so sorry.

That's a good point about following up. Does your book say how long to wait before sending a follow-up email?

EriCan said...

Sending good wishes to your grandma and family :)

Jenna- I'm so sorry to hear that.

My husband's been out of work for six months now- it's so frustrating. He's had interviews. One interview he had was all day- 8:00am to 4:00pm- he met with 12 different people that day, and he hasn't heard anything- no note, no email, nothing, and that was a month ago... He saw that they posted the position again- so we assume he didn't get it, but after spending a whole day with someone- and for a company that makes a product *everyone* uses, it's just bad business.

So Mel, sorry, wish I could say yes to this question, but even with an interview, you can be left hanging. Hopefully Canada has better manners :)

My husband sent Thank You notes after his interview, he waited maybe a day. I would say a week to check the status of your application/resume is enough time to wait- you don't want to lose the job to someone while you're waiting to follow up!

Best of luck!

Allen said...

First, good wishes, grandmother!

Second, I usually like it when an applicant sends along a postcard, pre-stamped and addressed, so that I can make a note and mail it if he or she is not right for the job.

Very few people do this anymore. It makes my hiring decisions easier. If they don't care enough to send a postcard, they may not care about my $100k plus equipment. At those kinds of costs, I can't afford an uncaring person.

mary h said...

Mel, I am no help on the application matter since I haven't interviewed for a job in over 20 years, but definitely have sympathy for the process you are going to have to go through.

I will keep your grandmother in my thoughts today! Let us know how she does.


Jenna said...

Thanks Mel. Heath took the book to work (they are keeping him on for 6 more weeks and are being really cool about letting him job search and use company resources) but I think it said something like follow-up a week after they would receive it. I'll mine the book for some more tips and email has some great insight on how to make yourself stand out.

Thanks EriCan. That stinks about the all day interview then nada. Just a tip on something like husband hired a women a few years ago and though she didn't have the experience some other candidates did she sent a follow up letter (more than just a thank-you for the interview type thing) and it was so intelligent and professional that it was the thing that put her over the top and got her the job. Your husband should try following up, very professionally inquire if the job is still open and if there is anything he could answer or provide that might put him back in the running.

Adam said...

Good luck with the apps, Mel. :)

Sending out good wishes for you grandmother.


Melanie Avila said...

Erica, that's awful. Jenna has good advice. She's very wise, that one, and has gotten me through a lot of tough situations. :)

Allen, I think the postcards sound like a wonderful idea, but how would you do that electronically? I know you answer will be to take the time to send something via snail mail, but my postal system is quite sucky. I will send follow-up emails at the one-week mark.

And, um, 100K? Can I work for you? :P

I will say that having been on the hiring end, I was often swayed by thank you notes.

Natasha Fondren said...

It sure is tough out there. My friend works at a college, and the bookstore there was hiring a minimum wage clerk, and there were over seventy applicants. A neighbor two RVs down got a job, though, and there were over two thousand applicants for his position, and it was not a super-duper big position, just a regular job.

This spring, I sent out applications and resumes to every single library in the US that was hiring a children's librarian aide, as well as every Borders and Barnes & Noble in Ohio. I heard nothing. I got a postcard from one.

In retrospect, I would have been more detailed about my self-employment, making it clear I had been teaching full-time. Evidently, it's the fad for people to call themselves "self-employed" when they're "between jobs."

Wow, Jenna and Erica. I am so sorry! That is so tough. :-(

Melanie Avila said...

Mary, I will let you all know. She should be in surgery now.

Jenna, I'm glad he's got a little more time. That will hopefully take some of the sting out. Or at least delay it.

Thanks Adam.

Melanie Avila said...

Natasha, so me saying I've been "self-employed" probably won't help me, eh? I do list the projects I've been doing, so it's not like I just said those two words and left it at that.

That's awful you never heard anything about the librarian jobs. I remember when you were applying. The positions I'm applying for are quite specific but I'm sure there are still a lot of people. I'd be curious to know the actual numbers.

JLC said...

*Is leaving no reply to this post due to the current economy. But she will wish your grandmother a successful surgery and a quick recovery.*

Melanie Avila said...


Amy Sue Nathan said...

((Thinking about your grandma))

I agree with you - I think employers only respond when they are interested. I found that strange when I started looking for work as well, because it seems *rude* in a way. But if you're one of hundreds of applicants, then I can see the reasoning. I have received mass emails, months after applying for something telling me a position had been filled. When that happened, I didn't even remember anything about the job.

I have rarely heard back from job searches on Craigslist or any huge website - I think those folks get thousands of people responding and many of those jobs are cross-listed on various websites.

If you're not already doing this, why not find a handful of companies in Vancouver that you'd like to work for and look at their websites. Many companies list job opportunities there.

Nadine said...

When I had to hire PAs back when I worked for a production company, the amount of applications that came in was overwhelming. There was no way I could reply to all of them so I just replied to those I wanted to interview.

Your grandmother is in my thoughts!

Melanie Avila said...

Amy, that's a good idea to seek out specific companies. I just worry that could take YEARS (and that's the part I always have trouble with). Two of the three places I applied had places to submit through their website, so that's what I did.

Nadine, I'm realizing that's the case. Now I'm curious how many people are applying for these positions.

Robin said...

Can I say, "What Jenna said?" or is that cheating? Definitely follow up with an e mail saying something like, "I continue to be very interested in your job, and feel like I would be a great addition to your company".

I just read that back. It sounded like a joke, and I didn't mean it to. Urk.

Best wishes for your grandmother!