Issue #10: Founder of Miss Black USA tells all 😍

What an exciting few weeks it's been! This past weekend, thousands of women marched together for the anniversary of the Women's March. Capital Women was also one of the guests at the Justice Fair in Sixth and I's Empow(HER)ed event, which featured speakers like D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center Fatima Goss Graves. Today, it's time to take a look back at this year's Women's March on Washington, a cool upcoming event by women’s social justice a cappella group SongRise, and another interview for the Capital Women podcast, this time with the founder of the Miss Black USA pageant Karen Arrington.

I submitted an application about a week ago for a job I’m really excited about. I didn’t get any kind of confirmation that they got my application, though, and now I’m worried that their system ate it or they never saw it. When and how should I follow up?

This is sort of a tough question, tbh. I normally advocate doing almost no application follow-up; it’s not often welcome by hiring managers, and it’s just not normally worth the time. But if you applied for a job that you’re blindingly excited about and didn’t get an email or landing page acknowledging that your application was received? I’m not as sure.

Honestly, it’s just so easy for employers to provide this kind of confirmation that if they don’t do it, they deserve to be deluged with follow-up from applicants. But, of course, some employers don’t provide any confirmation, as terrible as that is. And even more of course, sometimes ATS’ (applicant tracking systems) really do malfunction and really do mess up or lose your application.

The tricky thing is that I really believe the best time to follow up is immediately after applying. Submit, and if there’s no confirmation message or page, wait 5 minutes and then check your email. If there’s no confirmation email, take a minute right then to try to find a contact email (doesn’t have to be a hiring manager, but that’s ideal) and just ask: “I just applied for (JOB NAME), and I didn’t see a confirmation email, so I wanted to confirm that you received my application. Thank you!”

The beauty to this approach: you’re not making the manager feel in any way pressed to make a decision about you on the spot as they might be if you followed up, say, a week or two later (where at least reasonable people don’t want to tell you you’re submitted and then reject you the next day when they actually review the applications). You’re making a reasonable and quick ask, and they can confirm in kind.

This might seem like a lot of mental gymnastics to go through just to ingratiate yourself to an employer that has a lot more power than you do in the situation. That’s totally correct. Which is why I’d only do it if you’re really very excited about the job in the first place. I’m just trying to help you get the best possible results from the situation.

One exception to this: If you just applied by email, and that email was sent to what seemed like a real human person’s email (like firsname.lastname@company.org rather than resumes@company.com), then follow-up is a bit more silly, since one wouldn’t assume they’d have an automatic confirmation set up on their regular email. It’s up to you, but you’d want to change your phrasing to reflect that.

If you’ve got a work, job-search, or networking question for Kim, hit her up at kimberlee.stiens@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @ranavain

  • Meet some of the women who participated in this year’s Women’s March on Washington. [NPR]

  • Missed any of the speeches at this year’s Women’s March? Here are some of the highlights. [USA Today]

  • Looking for women-focused locations in Washington, D.C.? Here is a list of 20 suggestions. [Washington.org]

  • There is a call for local top female tech talent for The Vinetta Project. The winner of this event will get $20,000. [The Vinetta Project]

  • See why we need to speak the names of Black women in government. [Blavity]

  • Kerrice Lewis, remember this name. [Huffington Post]

  • January 27: Through art, express your inner Wonder Woman.

  • January 27: Fight breast cancer together by joining in on Curves for the Cure.

  • January 30: Femme-focused newsletter Girls’ Night In is hosting a book club meeting, this month focused on Naomi Alderman’s “The Power.”

  • February 3: Three women authors share their empowerment journeys on a panel hosted by the Lambda Delta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, Sorority, Inc.

  • February 25: Adejoké and SongRise, a women’s social justice a cappella group, is hosting a performance, and it's sure to be wonderful as always. (Be sure to use discount code SONGRISE10 for 10 percent off).

Michelle Goldchain and Kim Stiens contributed to this newsletter.