Do Companies Really Keep Your Resume on File?

Posted June 27, 2016

Stop me if you've heard this one before: "While we don't think you are a good fit for this opportunity, we'll keep your resume on file in case another opportunity comes up in the future."

You may not know whether to laugh or cry when you read this because it sounds a lot like, "Thanks but no thanks."

The truth is, some hiring managers really do want to keep you in mind for something else. However, too often this line is just a meaningless courtesy.

Case #1 - You really are on file

In some cases, a hiring manager truly does like you, but thinks you just aren't the right person for the job. It could be that someone else is a bit more qualified, or the hiring manager thinks your personality might be better suited to, say, dealing with clients or working in a more independent role.

In this case, "on file" really does mean you have a shot at something else within the same company, particularly if you made it though several stages of the hiring. Often, the "on file" message will include information on how to keep in touch for the next opportunity or glowing praise about how well you did in the interview.

In other words, you should get the sense that this hiring manager does not want to see you go to a competitor.

If this case applies to you and you are interested in pursuing another opportunity at the company, be sure to follow the hiring manager’s instructions and connect to them through LinkedIn, if possible.

Case #2 - You never had a shot

Sadly, some hiring managers know an internal candidate will likely get the job and they just put up a job posting as a formality. In this case, "on file" means your resume will be held at the company for future reference, but you probably shouldn’t be waiting by the phone, expecting them to call any day.

However, if you do see another opportunity at the same company, be sure to mention that you have corresponded with the company before and they do have your resume on file. A good hiring manager will appreciate the fact that you’ve had a long-term interest in working at the company.

Case #3 - You need to let it go

If you've been contacting the hiring manager every few days to check on the status of your application and you've been getting the runaround, being told your resume will be kept on file may be a nice way of saying "Leave me alone."

In this case, the hiring manager could be trying to get you to look elsewhere, and it's probably best if you take the hint.

At Ambassador, when we say we’ll keep your resume on file, we really mean it! We are always reaching out to folks we have in our candidate file, so feel free to contact us today to work with a leading employment firm in the South.