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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Resume Follow-Up

Dear Sue: I've started looking for a new job and recently submitted my resume to a company listing a position that I am very interested in. I would like to know if there is any rule of thumb or protocol about the proper follow up after submitting a resume. 

I didn't hear from back this company so I made a couple of phone calls to the Human Resources department. The person I spoke with indicated that my resume was one that was being considered for an interview. 

Will I spoil my chances if I call occasionally to find out what the status is on the position? 

Any insight and guidance you can give me in this area would be most 

- Anxious

Sue Says: If you are really interested in a position, you are wise to pursue it rather than sit, wait and hope that someone will call you.

You have no way of knowing how many resumes were received for this position. Yours could be one of hundreds. By calling, you are setting yourself apart from those who do not, and are showing your interest in the position. 

The response you get when you call should determine if and when you call back. If you sense that the person you are calling is irritated by your persistence, back off a bit. There is a fine line between being diligent and following up with someone and pestering them. 

Dear Sue: I don't want to sound like a whiner or a complainer who cannot get along with people because I am not. In fact, I make friends easily, and often win the praises of my employers. I think part of the problem I may be having is that I do too well at times.

I am a talented and hard worker, but at some point a co-worker becomes jealous of the praise I receive for my efforts, and starts a campaign against me. 
It is at that point that I fail to understand how to handle the situations that occur. I know this is my failing because other people make it through these same circumstances, but I do not. I just do not know how to handle office politics.

Please tell me what to do in these situations. I have tried ignoring them, but they only get worse. I have tried confronting the issue and then I always seem to say something that makes me look bad. 

- Feeling pretty silly

Sue Says: Office politics and jealousy are commonplace, and there may be nothing you can do about either. You can, however, be friendly, respectful and supportive of others. 

Since you are a talented and hard worker, you have the potential to be a leader. You seem to get the praise you deserve, and your coworkers probably look to you as a role model. Some of your coworkers may lack your initiative; yet long for the respect and praise you receive. 

Take the focus off of yourself and your success, and place it on others. Find reasons to build up and praise your coworkers. Ultimately, it will make you look even better, without alienating anyone along the way.

Creating strong and positive relationships is your best insurance against anyone starting a campaign against you again. 

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

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