How many times have you have submitted a job application or sent your resume to a company you’d love to work for, and then never heard back? Unfortunately, this can (and does) happen all too frequently during your job search. The hiring process can drag on for weeks (and sometimes months), and the waiting can be absolute agony, says FlexJobs career writer Jennifer Parris (How to Follow Up on Job Applications: 11 Tips).
You have two options in response to this waiting game: You can either hold on indefinitely, presuming the employer will contact you if they are interested, or you can choose to follow up. While it might seem easier to wait it out, virtually all job search professionals recommend that you follow up after submitting applications, especially if you are very interested in the job or the company. As job search expert Alison Doyle points out (How to Follow Up After Submitting a Resume), following up in a courteous, professional way can make you stand out in a positive light by letting the hiring manager know that you are motivated and ready to work.
Career coach Hallie Crawford (How to Follow Up on a Job Application) stresses that following up does not make you look unprofessional, so don’t hesitate to inquire about your application. Following up on a job application after a reasonable amount of time shows that you are interested in the position, organized and assertive, and can demonstrate to the employer the kind of employee you would be if they hired you.
Here are some suggestions for when and how to follow up after submitting applications:
Email your contact. If you have a contact email, send a brief courteous email approximately one week after submission to confirm they received your application. Glassdoor blogger Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter (How to Follow Up on Your Job Application) suggests using this opportunity to also reinforce your enthusiasm for the role. If you still have not heard back after two weeks, send another short email emphasizing your genuine interest in the position and inquiring about next steps. You may also use this second follow-up to briefly demonstrate (1-3 sentences) how you could use your skills to solve a potential challenge you suspect or know the company is facing. This “future impact” suggestion could help trigger a connection between your value proposition and their pain points.
Career expert Michael Tomaszewski (How to Follow up on a Job Application (with Email Samples)) offers this follow up email sample:
Hello [Hiring Manager’s Name],
Last week, I applied for the position of [position title]. I would like to kindly ask you if you could provide me with your decision timeline.
I am very enthusiastic at the prospect of joining your team and leveraging [your specific skills, knowledge, and experience] to help you [what profit you’d bring to the company].
Please let me know if you need any more details about my application. I look forward to speaking with you and sharing my ideas on how to help you with your upcoming challenges.
[Your LinkedIn profile]
[Your phone number]
Find a contact to email. If you don’t find a contact email during the application process, try searching the company website to locate contact names that are related to the role or division for which you applied. If you find names but no method of reaching them, continue your online research (such as LinkedIn). If you find appropriate contact email addresses, send brief, polite and enthusiastic emails indicating you have applied to their company. Let them know you are reaching out to inquire about the status of the hiring process and to reiterate your interest. If you have a name but cannot locate an email, call the company reception desk, indicate whom you are trying to reach and request the best way to email them.
Reach out to company contacts. If you already have inside contacts where you have applied, let your company contacts know you have submitted an application. Encourage your contacts to ask HR or the hiring manager to be on the lookout for your information or ask your contacts if they could help you connect with someone in charge of recruitment. (See the Tri-Valley Career Center’s Tips for Applying Online for additional helpful information on the online application process.)
Make a phone call. If you haven’t gotten an email response, consider following up with a phone call. A recent study found that 39% of hiring managers were open to follow up phone calls, so you may have nothing to lose by stepping outside your comfort zone. To make the most of a follow-up call, practice what you want to say or consider writing a script. Make sure you have practiced enough so that you sound natural and confident. If you need to leave a message, remember to leave your phone number in your message.
Here’s a sample follow up phone message from career expert Michael Tomaszewski:
Hello [Hiring Manager’s Name], my name is [Your Name]. I submitted my application for the [XYZ] position two weeks ago. I just wanted to make sure you received it and to let you know that I’m still interested in the position. I’d love to talk with you about how I can help you with your upcoming challenges. If you need any additional information, please let me know.
Know when to let it go. Following up more than twice is generally not recommended. If you haven’t heard from a company within a reasonable timeframe, it might be time to just move on. If a company doesn’t treat you with respect now by not responding to any of your follow ups, why expect them to do it once you start working with them?
Keep your job search going. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect job, don’t give up on applying to other companies while waiting for a response. Don’t obsess over one job posting. No matter how great a candidate you are, you might not make it for reasons beyond your control.
Finding a job can be challenging, but following up after submitting your applications can help tip the odds in your favor and hopefully result in an offer of employment sooner than you think.