Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships


Typical job postings on Monster or Career Builder will net hundreds and sometimes thousands of online applicants.  Of course, not all will come close to being qualified.  However, with your submission mixed in with the throngs, how can you prove to the screening software that HR utilizes, that you are worthy of a look?


First, be sure to use keywords specific to the position on your resume.  Never send an automated resume response even though it may be faster and easier.  It will shoot you in the foot if you find out later that your words are not consistent with the requirements in the posting.  You have to emphasize what makes you superior for the position than all the other applicants.  Your keywords have to be carefully chosen for each application you submit.


How are you on the follow-up? Following up is crucial to a successful job search.  It projects your image as a professional who is interested and committed to the available position.  Your follow up should be done by telephone, unless the posting specifically states no calls.  Be sure to note the closing date on the posting. You should not follow up until the employer has actually stopped accepting applications.  If there is no closing date posted, then it is acceptable to follow up after a week if you have not heard anything.

When you do make the call, gauge the response of the hiring manager on the other end of the line.  If they are short or seemed rushed, it is most likely not a convenient time.  So then, you should ask when you might be able to get a moment of their time for a few questions that you have regarding the opening.  If they suggest you email, then send an email with a few questions, for example:

?       What is the anticipated timeframe for the hiring process?

?       How much experience would your ideal candidate have?

?       Has a decision been made yet?

?       May I follow up in another week if I haven’t heard from you?


You could also send a link to your website or to examples of your work online if you have that information.  Or even send a link to a relevant article about their industry or something that pertains to the position. 


Many postings are anonymous which most people think are impossible to follow up on.  However, if you look for a distinctive phrase in the job description, then Google that phrase in quotes, you will get a hit if the position has been posted on the company website and most times, it is.  When following up on this type of posting, it is best to follow up via email and request a time to call.


Practice restraint and do not cross the line between diligent follow-up to becoming annoying. Companies can be slow to hire at times, and with holidays and vacations the process can potentially take months.


Proper follow-up will make a great impression and get your resume to the top of the pile.  It will distinguish you from the hundreds of competitors still waiting to be reviewed and prove you understand the importance of appropriate follow through, and enables you to be the stand-out candidate!




Diana Miller runs the Community Job Club in Stow, OH. 

By: Cindy Huynh

Earlier this month, I joined some colleagues at the Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on a visit to the Career Network Ministry (CNM) ( at McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia. The visit was made in conjunction with the Center’s efforts to identify job clubs across the country and connect them to one another and to the workforce investment system. CNM is one of the most successful and celebrated job clubs in the country, so there was much anticipation for our visit.  


With an active roster of 1,300 members and an average of 75 to 100 participants per meeting, running the group’s Tuesday evening sessions is no easy feat. However, thanks to a corps of more than 150 dedicated volunteers, many of whom found their own jobs through CNM, the ministry has grown over the past three years to provide a variety of employment and support services. During the first part of the weekly meetings, job seekers engage in a range of small-group and one-on-one activities, including resume critique and interview training, consultations with human resources executives and other employer representatives, and prayer groups that offer faith and moral support. New members are given the CNM Handbook, a valuable resource that addresses topics such as marketing plans, traditional and non-traditional job search and networking techniques, and managing depression and disappointment while unemployed.


I was able to observe many of these various sessions, all of which are available and free to people from the broader community, not just congregation members. Following the smaller, break-out sessions, we participated in a gathering of the full group in attendance that evening, about 125 members. We heard "victory lap" speeches from members who had recently landed new jobs. Additionally, a guest speaker, social media guru Rob Mendez (, shared tips and strategies for getting the most out of LinkedIn and other tools. Rob revealed some tricks of the trade for landing at the top of a search for job candidates on LinkedIn. Finally, DOL Center’s deputy director Ben Seigel shared remarks with the group on the Center’s new project and praised CNM’s work. “This ministry is a testament to the power of community and volunteers to come together and help out your neighbors, and achieve real results in getting people back to work,” said Ben.


During my visit, I was very impressed with the positive, go-getter attitude that the group exuded, as well as the variety of training it offered. The tremendous amount of support provided by CNM’s volunteers has also proved to be invaluable to its job seeking members. For that reason, I was not surprised to learn that despite the fact that CNM advertises only through word of mouth, the group continues to gain about 25 new members each week, evidence of its success and impact on its members.


Cindy Huynh is a summer intern in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor. She is a rising junior at Cornell University.