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

Getting an Interview

Dear Sue: I sent my resume to the human resources department of a company I'm interested in working for. I called ahead and sent it directly to the person they told me I should send it to. I followed up a short time later to find out if they received it. The person I spoke with said that they get so many resumes that she couldn't tell me whether mine arrived or not. I got her to agree to accept another resume from me via email so that I would at least know it was received. I followed up with a phone call after I sent the email, and she confirmed that it arrived. No more information was offered and when I asked, she wouldn’t tell me anything. It's been three weeks from my original mailing and I'm thinking of mailing a letter to a person of authority that I believe would be in on the hiring. Is this a no-no? What other options do I have?

I really want to interview with this company and I can't imagine they wouldn't at least want to interview me once. I seem to have the skills and experience to do the job, but I can't get my foot in the door. What do you think? - Pat

Sue Says: I think it is great that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get an interview with this company – it is indicative of your desire to work there. It is not clear to me, however, it the company has a particular position available that you are applying for or if you just have your sights set on working for this company and assume a position could be created. If you decided you wanted to work for this company, and no position is available, your timing may be off. If they have an opening, as you were told, you undoubtedly are one of many applying for the position, and should do what you can to get an interview.

As you were told, this company receives many resumes. You have no idea how desperate they are to find someone or what their time frame is. Other than the fact that you would like to work for this company, which makes you so interested, the bigger question is, why should they be interested in you and what will you do for them? If you can provide a solution and offer something others cannot, you will have a much better chance of getting your foot in the door. Good luck.

Dear Sue: I am an administrative secretary who screens calls for my boss on a continual basis. The problem I am having is with telemarketers and recruiters who call her repeatedly. I have stated that she is not available and offered to take a message. Once they leave a message, I give it to my boss, but she does not return the calls as she is not interested. I’ve told the callers that we do not accept sales calls, and have asked them to remove us from their call lists, but they continue to call. What is a polite way of asking these individuals not to call? I am really unsure about how to handle this. - Maureen

Sue Says: Telemarketers and other people who solicit business through cold calling and the telephone are used to rejection. A caller is simply doing his or her job by calling you over and over again. No matter how polite you are, it may not make a difference. As long as you continue to ‘ask the callers not to call, and are willing to take messages for them, my hunch is that nothing will change. When you have callers who are beginning to harass you, you need to respond much differently and more firmly. You need to find a way to inform these callers that there is no interest, they are wasting their time and yours, and that you will no longer accept calls from them.

Be firm, be polite, and stick to your guns. If the calls continue to persist, you may need to complain to the companies they represent. Although an important characteristic of a good sales person is persistence, another essential quality is to recognize that there are times when no really means no.

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

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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