When They Say, “We’ll Keep Your Resume on File,” What Does That Mean?

It’s something every job candidate has heard at one time or another. “We’re going with someone else, but we’ll keep your resume on file.” Your first thought after hearing that may be, “Sure, you’ll keep it in the circular file down at your feet with all the other crumpled paper.” So, exactly what does it mean when someone says they will keep your resume “on file?” Will they really?

Yes, in fact at many companies, they really do keep your resume on file for a certain amount of time. Its exact status while “on file” may vary. For example, firms keep resumes on file to comply with legal requirements. Some firms have multiple databases and may put the resume on file on certain ones.

One hiring manager keeps resumes on file, but has their own type of filing system. Some are kept in an active file, where the person is thought to have definite potential at the company and definitely worth a follow up for future job openings. Others are kept in a “maybe file,” when they are not considered quite as desirable.

And, especially in a tight job market, companies will go through their resume databases to look for people who may have the skills they are looking for when a job opening occurs. Good companies will recognize talent and realize while this current opening might not be the best fit for your skillset, they want you as a part of the organization down the road for a future opening.

But that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and wait for the company to contact you. When you see another job that you like at a company where your resume is on file, you should apply again. Send in a new resume and cover letter. The time and place for mentioning a past application comes in follow-up communication, whether it’s in an e-mail, on a phone call or during an interview.

There may be times when a hiring manager is really just blowing smoke when they tell you that your resume will be kept on file, but you can usually tell when that happens. For example, if even you recognize that you bombed the interview, odds are your resume will never see the light of day again.

You can also get an idea by asking some follow-up questions about the “on file” process. If the hiring manager is reluctant to answer your questions, or you get brushed off with one-word answers, then you can be reasonably certain they won’t be contacting you about future open positions.

If you are looking for employment in the Inland Empire, Arrow Staffing is the place to go. Arrow has the experience and the know-how to help you find what you are looking for. Arrow will work with you every step of the way. Give Arrow Staffing a call today.


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