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How to Follow Up on a Job Application

You finally found a job posting that looks like the perfect fit for you. You filled out the application, paying attention to every little detail. Then you crafted a brilliant cover letter and sent it all to the hiring company.

And then you wait. After that, you wait some more.

When you find a job that really gets you excited, it’s hard to sit and wait to hear back. Did they even get your resume? Have you already been ruled out? How long will you have to wait? You want to get in touch with someone and ask, but can you do that without being a pest? If you’ve found yourself up at night wondering how to follow up on a job application properly, we’ve got some tips.

First, yes, you can follow up without being a pest. By following a few basic rules, you can follow up without annoying most hiring managers and possibly even get your name to the top of their list. Here’s how to follow up on a job application.

First things first...

When following up on a job application, pay close attention to the original job posting. If they included something like “No phone calls, please” or any other phrasing that discourages follow ups, play by their rules. If they are making the effort to specifically get that message across, you won’t win any points by ignoring it. In fact, you’ll probably take yourself out of the running for the job.

However, if the job posting includes a phone number or an email address, consider that an open invitation for a simple follow up, like an email.

Who do you contact?

If you’re going to contact the company for a follow up, you want to make certain that you are connecting with the right person and addressing them by name. They could make it easy by having that info on the job posting, but that’s not all that likely. However, It doesn’t take too much time or effort to find out who you should be addressing with your follow up email or call.

Check out the company’s Linkedin page. Is there someone in charge of personnel or recruiting? Do you have any other contacts at this business that you know? If so, reach out and ask them some questions about the position. You could end up with an inside champion who could help your cause.

If you can’t find out any other way, simply dial up the company’s reception desk and ask the person who answers. They’ll likely have the information you need.

How long should you wait?

There is no absolute here. Different hiring managers may have different thoughts on this. However, if you send in your application and you have not heard anything in seven to 10 days, you’re in safe territory. You want to give them enough time to have looked through the applications, but not wait so long with a follow up email or call that you’ve missed your chance.

If you found the job listing online, keep an eye on it. If the job posting is still out there, they probably haven’t moved on the position yet. Once it’s gone, you know they are starting to process things.

How should you contact them?

In today’s computer-heavy business world, a follow up email is your safest bet. An email sent directly to the person hiring for the job can get you noticed without unduly disrupting their day. Yes, you risk disappearing into a spam folder, but even that if preferable to annoying the person you want to impress.

Some people don’t mind a quick phone call following up on a job application. Others don’t want to talk to someone they don’t know and feel that a phone call is too intrusive. Unless you see a phone number displayed on the ad, an email may be a safer bet.

What about an attention-grabbing greeting card? Risky. Some people may love it. It’s out of the box and it does stand out. There’s a good chance, though, that it will come across as gimmicky. The same goes for any sort of gifts.

What should you say?

Your goal with the following up on a job application should be to get your name in front of the hiring manager’s eyes and to express your interest in the job. In your follow up email, introduce yourself, state that you have applied for the position and are very interested in the job.

Here’s where you can sell yourself a little. Use one or two sentences to tell them why you think you would excel at this position and with their company. The key is to sound enthusiastic about the job, not desperate. What’s the difference? Enthusiasm shows just how much you are interested in this job because you would be a great fit. Desperation shows how badly you need a job. It’s a big difference and hiring managers can tell.

Invite them to contact you or bring you in for an interview. Make it friendly and relaxed. Even though you want them to contact you and tell you where they are in the hiring process, you aren’t in a position to make demands.

When following up, keep it short. Whether you’re on the phone or sending an email, you don’t want to eat up much of their time. Short and sweet and to the point. They’ll appreciate that.

When should I follow up again?

Never. It sounds a bit blunt, but the reality of it is that if you try to contact a hiring company more than once to follow up on your application, you’re hurting yourself. You may think the persistence will impress them, but don’t count on it. It comes across as needy and annoying.

What else can I do?

Dig into the company’s social media. Interact on Twitter or Facebook to keep your name in front of them. Stick to the topics at hand, though. If they Tweet about a local event, your reply should also be about the event. This is not the place to mention that you’ve applied for a job there.

Does the company or any of its employees have a blog? Check it out and give some thoughtful feedback. Remember, you want to present yourself as entertaining and engaged. That’s what social media is all about.

Conclusion.

Job hunting can be very stressful. Filling out the forms, digging through your own work history, and then playing the waiting game gets old in a hurry. Unfortunately, there’s no magic trick to make companies look at your application and reply right away. Keep applying to multiple jobs and keep track of when you apply. Then, when the timing is right, create a follow-up plan that can help you jump to the top of the resume pile.

Following up on a job application can be disastrous if you do it wrong. If you’re too persistent or too pushy, you’ll hurt your chances of landing that gig. But, when you do it thoughtfully, you can get the answers you need and make a great first impression.

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!