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I recently came across a position on my university's career center website. I am graduating next month, and meet all of the qualifications listed for the position. The position matches my interests, desire, and skill set better than any other position for which I've interviewed.

  • The position was posted on April 3.
  • The start date is listed as April 15.
  • The resume submission deadline is July 31.
  • The contact information at the end of the posting lists a contact person, their title, and the company address. There is no phone number or email address listed.
  • The company is local.

My question is two fold.

  1. I submitted a resume on the 5th. Does the start date being listed much sooner than the resume submission deadline mean they are trying to fill the position as soon as possible?
  2. The company makes the type of products I am particularly interested in developing, and the job description meets my ideal job description. Finding the company's phone number was easy. Would it be acceptable to call and inquire about some of the position's details? Is there a better proactive approach to expressing interest in this position?
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It doesn't make sense to list a start date before the resume submission deadline. I would tend to suspect that there is a typo in the posting. Normally, if a company is posting positions on a university's career center web site, the start date would correlate to the end of the semester-- posting a position that is supposed to start just when the current semester is winding down would be quite odd. My best guess is that the company intended the start date to be August 15 which gives them time to interview candidates and probably coincides with the end of the summer term. Either that or the submission deadline is April 15 and the start date is July 31.

I would talk with someone at the career center, though, to try to understand the odd dates. It's possible that some dates were transposed in the process of posting to ad.

As a general rule, you probably don't want to reach out to the company (other than submitting your resume, of course). More often than not, the hiring manager is rather busy and the company has a relatively standardized approach to hiring. The company is probably also getting a large number of resumes for a given position. If you call and try to have a conversation with the hiring manager particularly before they've expressed an interest in interviewing you, you'll probably interrupt them doing something they consider more important and it is more likely that you'll come across as needy and annoying than enthusiastic. You're generally better off letting them review your resume and decide if they want to interview you before you start asking questions.

Now, occasionally, a really enthusiastic candidate cold calling going above and beyond does make a really good impression on the hiring manager and gets the job. That is the exception, though, not the rule. It's more likely to work for certain types of jobs-- a sales position that involves cold calling, for example, where persistence and an extroverted personality are important attributes of a successful candidate. It sounds like you are probably looking at some sort of software development position. That's generally not the sort of position where it makes a lot of sense to cold call the hiring manager. Plus, if you're asking the question, it's likely that you don't have the personality to pull off a successful cold call (nothing wrong with that, it just takes a very particular sort of outgoing and boisterous person to really pull it off).

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    I disagree that people doing something to distinguish themselves is an exception rather than a rule. The hiring manager is going to have to sort through dozens if not hundreds of resumes from people blinding submitting to a "oh I need a job I'll apply here" through the online service. – enderland Apr 14 '13 at 16:58
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    @enderland - I believe I expressed that poorly. I was intending to only suggest that an enthusiastic candidate cold calling the hiring manager or otherwise going around the hiring process without the company having reviewed the resume yet is unlikely to make a favorable impression but that's not what I wrote. Hopefully I've clarified my point. Showing enthusiasm in the course of the interview process is, of course, very useful. – Justin Cave Apr 14 '13 at 19:02

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