What to Do When the Silence is Deafening (Not to Mention Disheartening)

Hello hello,

I received the below letter from a frustrated job seeker—and it echoed the sentiments I’ve heard from a lot of you. She found my response helpful, so I thought I’d send it out as a Wow as well:

Hi Frances,

I, and MANY friends, have found that after applying to a job (both online and when you’ve made it to the last round of interviewing), a lot of companies won’t even do you the courtesy of sending the “thanks but we’re not interested” stock letter. So you’re left wondering and waiting.

How long should I be persistent and when does it get obnoxious?


Dear Everyone Who is Waiting for a Reply;

I would email again and– if you haven’t heard in a week– call and say, “I emailed on X and Y dates, and thought it was time to follow up via telephone.”

This phrasing works because it begins with the facts –they can check their records and find your emails—and it also takes the onus on you: you’re just calling because you thought it was time to follow up. It’s not that they are a loser and didn’t follow up.

I would also send snail mail with printouts of your emails. Again, cheerfulness is key, “I thought I would send this to you via snail mail as well, as I’m sure you’re inundated this time of year and I am hoping to stand out.”

Again, you’re just stating the facts—not to mention handing them a paper trail—and the only reason you’re writing is because you’re hoping to stand out. It’s not that they can’t seem to get a grip on their in box.

You’ve got nothing to lose. As long as you’re tone stays upbeat you’re not obnoxious, you’re simply persistent– an admirable trait.


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