No answer to your cover letter? Seven tips on the do’s and don'ts from experienced recruiters

By Catalina Russu

No answer to your cover letter? Seven tips on the do’s and don'ts from experienced recruiters

Nowadays, almost every open vacancy requires the submission of a CV and a cover letter. These two documents reveal much about the person submitting an application. In the letter, the candidate is expected to explain why he or she would like to fill the position and, to do that well, one has to be passionate – at the risk of becoming overly enthusiastic about the new job. Then, after hitting ‘Send’ the wait begins, leaving the applicant feeling anxious and wondering how long it would be normal to wait for a response.

And, if it does seem to be taking a long time, is that always a bad sign? Would picking up the phone to inquire immediately blow the chance of securing the position? Check out some of the do’s and don’ts when waiting for a reply from HR according to three experienced Dutch recruiters.

1️⃣ Make sure the application has been received

What should you do if you do not receive a confirmation of receipt? “It will not be the case everywhere that a confirmation will be sent,” says Madelon van den Hoven, a senior recruiter with a Dutch consulting company. “In that case, I would recommend asking after a few days whether the application has been received.”

2️⃣ No answer after two weeks? Check your status!

What would be a reasonable period within which you should expect a potential employer to let you know whether or not you have been selected for an interview? Marlica Ligtelijn, the senior HR advisor at the largest Dutch broker in risk and benefits management company, answers: “Usually you can expect a response within two weeks unless a different period is clearly stated in advance.”

3️⃣ Send an email first

What if no time periods were mentioned at all? “Then you can always contact the recruiter,” says corporate recruiter, Desirée Markus. “Do this a week after submitting your application and not immediately after sending your documents.”

4️⃣ Don’t call too soon

What should you NOT do? Van den Hoven advises, “If it takes longer than indicated, you can of course call or email the recruiter for an update. But I would advise not to keep calling. Sometimes candidates call several times a day without leaving a voicemail. Some candidates also call every day to check if there has been an update.”

5️⃣ Don’t despair

Is it always a bad sign if it takes a long time before receiving a response? Should you worry or be anxious? Van den Hoven says, “Sometimes it just takes a little longer, perhaps the recruiter just can’t get hold of the hiring manager because, for example, he/she is abroad or on vacation. That has nothing to do with the quality of the application. In addition, it is also possible that the recruiter leaves a vacancy online for a certain period then only considers all the candidates together after that period. If you happen to be one of the first to respond then you will have to wait a relatively long time for a response.”

6️⃣ It’s not always you

“It may even be the case that the vacancy is withdrawn for whatever reason, for example, because of budgets, organizational changes, or the loss of a customer. But it is also possible that a potentially suitable internal candidate has applied at a later stage or that someone else from the team will take on the tasks involved. These kinds of organizational reasons can lead to external recruitment being put ‘on hold’ without candidates being notified of this,” says corporate recruiter, Desirée Markus.

7️⃣ Progressing with another job application? Notify all parties.

What should you do if you are really in a hurry, for example, because you have already been invited for an interview with another company? Markus suggests, “If you have another job application for which you are a bit further in the procedure, it is wise to contact us a little earlier. Then the company can try to take this into account if they also want to see you. That is very useful for all the parties involved. When your applications run more simultaneously, you can manage them more easily which gives you more peace of mind.”

Keep in mind that to increase the chances of being shortlisted and accepted for a job or a project, you need to present a well-written CV. The use of relevant keywords, phrases and terminology is of paramount importance to successfully find employment. DevelopmentAid can come to your aid with its professional CV tailoring service.