Ask A Progeek: Networking When You Can’t

Ah, job ads.  How many times they have instructions that have our heads spinning.  Let’s take a look at our latest Ask A Progeek:

If a job posting says that “only qualified applicants will be contacted” and “no phone calls please,” it seems like they don’t want you to contact them after applying.  In that case, how do you follow up? (or should you?)

This is a case of a fundamental job search issue – two different principles colliding.  In this case the rules of “networking” and “followup” with the other rule of “don’t annoy the people who may want to hire you.”  Your job search plans grind to a halt when something like this happens, because where do you go?

Actually you don’t let the problems butt into each other head on – you go around the situation.  Just like any obstacle you find away to go around it.  You circle around the obstacle.

In this case?  The obstacle is the HR department policy.

Now this policy may make sense.  As much as it heads off your plans, they may be too busy, too concerned, too careful, or too antisocial to want you contacting them.  Ask yourself if you were recruiting or hiring, wouldn’t there be situations where you wouldn’t want anyone contacting you?  The answer, by the way, is yes.

So you can’t charge on ahead and bug HR.  So you turn around and find another way to follow up.

The big way is networking.

See you can probably find people at the company you want to work for, or find people who know people there.  These people, if you know them or can get to know them, can follow up with you personally.  It’s not going and bugging the HR department (who are probably overwhelmed), its just good networking

Now this is going to take persistence and can have you running round and round to find the right people.  But if it’s a job you really want, then it’s worth the effort to go around the barriers . . . that they kind of put in the way anyway.

A final tip – no matter how friendly they are on followup, give potential employers MANY ways to reach you – phone, email, web page, etc.  Make it easy for them to get back to you.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at