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When you want an interview, and you’re willing to pester them for it

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “My parents and I disagree about how I should follow up on job applications. They feel that after I have sent in a résumé, I should call the company and request an interview. I’ve tried to explain that employers don’t want phone calls, and verbal communication isn’t required in the age of technology.

“However, based on their years of work experience, my parents insist that personal contact is the best way to stand out from the crowd. So far, I have stood my ground. Who is correct?” Son Against Parents

A: My answer will neither help you nor hurt you in this argument, because I believe all of you are asking the wrong question. The issue is not “should I call for an interview,” but rather “what’s the best way to make contact with an employer?”

If your parents are trying to make the point that simply submitting a résumé is not sufficient, then they are absolutely right. You do need to differentiate yourself from the flock of applicants, and personal contact is an excellent way to do so.

On the other hand, you are also correct. Many companies view unsolicited interview requests as a nuisance, so that is not the best approach. Instead, you should use networking strategies to connect with insiders who can help you navigate the application process. This is the type of personal contact that can increase your odds of being hired.

Fortunately, parents can be a real asset when it comes to networking. “Years of experience” automatically equates to “years of connections,” so it’s time to stop arguing with your folks and start taking advantage of their contacts.

Hate networking? You're not alone. Here are some ways to overcome that resistance: Why People Hate Networking (and what to do about it)

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