When you're looking for a job these days, you need to understand that you're one of potentially hundreds of candidates competing for just one position. Having a strong resume isn't enough these days, as you'll be competing against people who probably have more work experience than you do and who generally have better qualifications. That doesn't mean you should give up, though.
When looking for a job, following up consistently with potential employers is one of the keys to standing out as the best candidate and landing the job. Here are several of the most important things you can do to demonstrate your interest in the position and initiative as the ideal candidate.
Contacting the Employer
First, unless the employer specifies that they do not want to receive phone calls regarding applications, call the employer within a week of sending in your application or resume. This does not have to be a long call, but you should check to make sure your application was received and learn a little bit more about the time frame of the hiring process so you know what to expect. Perhaps even more than gathering information for yourself, this phone call will show that you're serious about the job and didn't just send your resume off into the great unknown.
Sending the Thank-You Letter
Second, send a thank-you card after an interview, whether it's on the phone or in person. A classy handwritten card shows that you understand business etiquette and again, that you really care about the job. Make sure to get the names of all of your interviewers if you have an in-person interview so you can send cards to all of them. Asking for business cards is the best way to do this. You can also send thank-you emails, but this should be in addition to, not instead of, physical cards. In each thank-you note, mention something specific you took away from the interview or a memorable moment, which shows your thoughtfulness and can help jog the interviewer's memory if you were one of several candidates who was interviewed that day.
Lastly, continue following up with phone calls after your interview. This shows that you haven't forgotten about the position and are still interested in learning what the company's decision is. Your consistency through this time of the hiring process can make the difference between getting the job and getting passed over for another candidate. Each time you call, make sure you have something substantive to say. For example, you could ask whether they need additional information or references. This shows that you're being thoughtful and that you are attentive to details.
Standing out in the sea of other job seekers is one of the keys to getting a job these days. Stay organized and jot down each point of contact with each of the employers you're actively pursuing. Aim to contact them at least once each week until you learn whether or not the position is yours, and hopefully the process will end with you beginning your new job!