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You may be following up after submitting resumes and ask yourself, "How do I stay in touch with people without becoming a pest?"  This is a great question and like most subjective things in life and work, there isn’t just one right answer.


Generally, we figure that the magic number for a one-time exchange is three calls. Calling is a more effective way of reaching out to somewhere where you know there is a specific job. Email is more passive and more easily ignored than a phone call. (It’s interesting to see that a phone call in today’s world carries more weight than it used to. When you call now, it means something.)

First time you call, if you don’t get through, leave a message on the voice mail or with the assistant. Be sure they know exactly why you are calling – i.e. “I’m calling to respond to the ad in the paper and request an interview”, “I’m calling to schedule a lunch/informational meeting” etc. and the best place to reach you back.

Wait three days. If you get no call back, call again. If it is about a job interview, by this point, if I was really interested I would also have written a letter and sent a resume to the contact person in the ad. Now you can say that you are following up on the previous call/letter regarding the ad.

If you are calling to schedule a lunch, say that again.

If you get no call back after another three days, if it’s about a job, call one more time. You won’t seem like a pest, you just wanted to make sure the messages were delivered. If it is about lunch, if it is a friend or you are playing phone tag, keep it up until you get the date. if you are looking to set up an informational meeting with someone you don’t know, send a letter explaining who you are and why, let it get there and have some time to sink in, and then resume the calls.

It’s a fine line. Not enough contact and you will be forgotten. Too much and they will want to forget you! Trust your instincts but when in doubt, ask us or a friend with more experience for their opinion on how to handle the situation.

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