There isn't an easy answer to the question of whether you should follow up after submitting a resume. I posted the question on the (very useful) Answers section of LinkedIn to see if I could get some insight into whether you should (or shouldn't) follow up after sending a resume. I received a variety of good answers, both in favor of, and against, following up.
In addition, if it makes sense for you to take that extra step in the hiring process, there are good suggestions on how to best follow up after sending a resume.
Chris Dittus, owner of August Communications Consulting, told me "As an HR professional who has received thousands of resumes over the years, I can tell you that there is no 'one size fits all' answer to your question (unfortunately!). There are numerous variables at play in these processes, and every organization is a bit different. It's impossible to know if you will be wasting your time following up on a resume you have sent in response to a job posting, or if it will be the one thing that gives you a small edge over another candidate."
So, in general, the answer is that it depends (and I heard that from several experts). It depends on how you applied, if you have or can find a contact person, and how much you want the job - how much effort is it worth? Here are some suggestions regarding when following up can help.
Jason Alba, JibberJobber
I think it depends (isn't that the typical response you hear from an MBA?). How did you get your resume to them in the first place? Has your only contact been online, through their job page? Or have you networked your way in? I would try and network my way in.
You Should Follow Up Your Resume
Elizabeth Sidel, Director of Recruiting at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
After submitting a resume, the candidate should follow-up (unless otherwise advised not to) with a phone call or email; it shows enthusiasm and ambition, and could differentiate the candidate.
Chris Dittus, owner of August Communications Consulting
It is certainly appropriate to send an email or letter a week or two following the submission of your resume, if you have not yet heard anything from the company. However, if you receive no response after submitting your resume AND following up with an email or letter a few weeks later, I wouldn't invest additional energy in that particular opportunity.
Liz Ryan, Workplace Expert; Networking Expert; Columnist at BusinessWeek.com
You have to follow up. Polite email messages that reinforce your strong interest in the job. Not-too-frequent phone calls to check on the status of your resume. Every single day, I hear from people who got jobs because they stayed on the case.
Nathan North, hrConsultant - hrLoop, Inc. - Founder
If you are going after a job that you specifically want then go for it, write a letter, call, or send an email to the hiring manager.
Asi Burak, Owner, Chief Product Officer - ImpactGames
From my perspective (as an employer) I would definitely prefer an email follow-up after 1-2 weeks - resumes could be lost in a pile. It is also an opportunity for the sender to add more information, and be more specific. In many cases, specific and relevant communication works better than anything.
Andrew Magliochetti CCIM, Owner and Principal, Helios Realty & Development LLC
A short hand-written note to the contact person goes a long way, and differentiates you from the rest of the pack. It shows you actually took more than two seconds to write an email - a call is a little too intrusive/pushy.
Sales Jobs Follow Up
The one time it's absolutely necessary to follow up, I heard repeatedly, is when you're applying for a sales job. Scott Winterton, founder of TwoLeftHands.Net, says "I think it's definitely a good idea to use Linkedin and/or a phone follow-up to job inquiries. In addition, in Sales it's a good idea to be proactive in your cover letter and let the contact know when you plan to call him/her. In my own experience, I've found that they sometimes respond back with "that time won't work, but why don't you try me at..." Now you have an invitation from the hiring manager to give him/her a call!"
You Shouldn't Follow Up
Susan Heathfield, About.com Guide to Human Resources
Not all employers may feel this way, but I hate fishing phone calls that have absolutely no purpose other than to make you notice an applicant. Wonder how many people call me each week to see if I have received their resume? Lots - and only the people I rarely call back. It's a wonderful opportunity for you to make a lasting bad impression. Fishing-for-attention phone calls rarely help and usually brand you as a pain.
Giselle Feijo, HR Manager
As an HR manager, I really dislike when applicants call me to follow up on the status of their application. Well, the 'status' of application is that I will be doing the following up - with the applicants who are qualified.
Bottom line, HR managers are very busy. No one appreciates being constantly interrupted by unimportant phone calls to check on whether a resume was received or not. If applicants cannot resist the urge to contact the HR manager, do it in writing (email, card) so that it is not intrusive. If you do not hear back, move on please.
Sheilah Etheridge, Owner, SME Management: Management and Accounting Consultant
If you have sent in a resume and heard nothing from them just move on.
How to Follow Up After Sending a Resume
The preferred method of following up was email or LinkedIn, and most of the responders recommended waiting a week or two after sending your resume. Notes were also suggested as a good way to distinguish yourself from the competition. Read about how to follow up and review sample follow up letters.