How to Follow up on a Job Application, According to 10 Experts

Sometimes, the hiring process can drag on for weeks (even months at times), and the waiting period can be absolute torture to some people.

If you want to know if you’re still in the running for the position, you might want to follow up on your job application.

So the question is, what’s the best way to do it?

Here are the proper ways of following up on a job application, as discussed by experts.

Amy Sanchez

Amy Sanchez

Certified Executive Career and Leadership Coach, Swim Against the Current

In general, the process to hire a new employee tends to take time. This can be frustrating for the job applicant but is the reality for companies, particularly large ones with a lot of processes and red tape. The key is to initially not interpret silence as rejection unless a significant amount of time has passed (then, just move onto the next role).

Also, a couple of important stats to know about how jobs are filled:

  • 70-80% of jobs are never publicly listed – Business Insider
  • 85% of all jobs are filled through networking – LinkedIn

So, if you’ve dropped a resume via an online search engine, expect not to hear back, unless you’re the perfect candidate.

To follow-up on a job application, here are some tips:

If you’re working with a recruiter, it’s appropriate to check-in about every three days

Unless the recruiter has explicitly offered a different timeline. When following up, ask if there’s anything else you can provide to help the recruiter present your candidacy. It’s always more motivating when you make requests based on the needs of the other person instead of your own needs.

Related: How to Follow up with a Recruiter

If you’ve dropped your resume online, look for someone within the company via LinkedIn who you share connections with

Send them a note requesting an “informational interview” to learn more about the company. A best practice is to do this prior to dropping your resume, since many companies offer referral bonuses and also, give preference to interviewing candidates who have been referred internally.

Avoid trying to contact HR as they get inundated with job applicant requests and will likely ignore your note

If you don’t hear back about a job you’re really excited about after trying the above, it could be a number of reasons. Don’t take it as a reflection on your abilities/strengths as a candidate.

However, if you’ve applied to several jobs (and also incorporated networking as a means to find a job) and you keep getting rejected, you may want to consider hiring a career coach or resume writer to help you.

Dana Case

Dana Case

Director of Operations, MyCorporation

Consider connecting with the HR rep or job listing point of contact on LinkedIn

Applicants should not follow up on job application submissions the same way they would if they had applied for a job and interviewed for it. My advice is that if you applied for a job and submitted a thoughtfully written resume and cover letter that received radio silence, consider connecting with the HR rep or job listing point of contact on LinkedIn.

Write them a message about how you applied for the job, the date you submitted your application, and express your enthusiasm for the role and what you could bring to the table as a fit for the position. They may connect with you and start the conversation from there.

Whatever you do, do not be pushy

Don’t hound the contact’s inbox daily with emails with ‘Checking In’ subject headers about whether they received your resume yet.

Lars Herrem

Lars Herrem

Group Executive Director, Nigel Wright Group

Recruiters are judged on their ability to provide prompt correspondence and keep both clients and candidates in-the-loop.

If you haven’t heard back from a recruiter, it’s therefore likely that they’ve deemed you unsuitable for the role

In this instance, it’s probably best to start looking for new opportunities.

If you narrowly miss out on a role, be sure to be gracious in defeat. Use it as an opportunity to learn and improve and ask the hiring manager or recruiter what it was that the other candidate excelled in and what it was that might have held you back.

It’s natural to be disheartened, but don’t forget that you’ll need to persevere with your job hunt and ask the recruiter about other opportunities that might be available.

Call the human resources department if you haven’t heard back from the company within a week

After sending a resume for a job opening or filling out a job application, it is perfectly acceptable to follow-up with the organization. For example, if you haven’t heard back from the company within a week, you could call and simply ask when the HR manager may start scheduling interviews.

Or, if you email your resume or application directly to someone in the hiring department, you could send a follow-up email within two business days, just verifying he or she received your information.

Finally, when following-up on job openings, it’s important to be inquisitive about the hiring process but not pushy regarding the final decision.

Michael Stahl

Michael Stahl

Executive Vice President | Chief Marketing Officer, HealthMarkets

Reach out to your contact one week after application

If you have a contact through the HR department at the company where you are interviewing, I think a week or so after applying for the job is an appropriate point to reach out for a status update.

It’s important to keep in mind that many companies – especially larger ones with robust HR departments – have a lot of automated processes these days with their online application systems.

If you get to the point of having a phone interview or even an in-person interview, it’s always good to email the person you spoke with the following day to thank them for their time and conversation.

Related: How to Follow up After an Interview If You Haven’t Heard Back

Darko Jacimovic

Darko Jacimovic

HR Expert | Co-Founder, What To Become

Follow up no sooner than one week after applying

When you apply for a job, you should prepare to wait for at least one week or up to three weeks. If there’s no response by that time, you should, by all means, follow up. However, double-check the job posting requirements. See if they indicated they don’t want to be contacted before a certain date. It’s best not to appear pushy, or as someone who is paying little attention to details and requests.

Write a personalized follow-up email

While you’re waiting for the response and preparing a follow-up email, find out the name of the hiring manager. It’s great that you show your research skills and the eagerness to approach the right person. Start your email addressing the hiring manager.

Find someone you know at the company

Along the lines of sending a personalized email, it’s best if you can find someone you know that already works there. You can ask your acquaintance to let the hiring manager know you’ve sent an application or to let you know about the person responsible for reviewing applications. You can use this information to send them a personalized email, mentioned before.

Be brief

Be polite and brief in your follow-up email. Reinstate your eagerness to work together, and let them know you’re still interested in the job. Leave your contact information once again.

Caitlin Proctor

Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, Zipjob

Follow up with a direct email to the hiring manager

I recommend following up 3 to 5 days after submitting an online application. Follow up with a direct email to the hiring manager. The subject line should be something like “Following up on my resume submission” with your name as it appears on your resume.

In the body of the email, write a few lines that reaffirm your interest

Include the unique attributes that qualify you for the position. Offer to clarify any aspect of your resume or application, and sign up respectfully with your name and contact information.

Follow up once more two weeks after you send that email with a short note, again including your name and contact information.

Shayne Sherman

Shayne Sherman

CEO, Techloris

Don’t follow up too soon

Some job listings specify a date when they’ll contact you so obviously you don’t want to call before that indicating to them that you don’t read instructions. Other job listings don’t want you to follow up at all. Disregarding instructions won’t do you any favors.

Be polite and professional when you do follow up

Keep in mind the people you speak with already have a position with the business so be appreciative of their time and their potential influence on your employment there.

Have a brief impactful pitch prepared in advance emphasizing your interest in working for the company and conclude by politely asking them when you can expect to hear back so you aren’t tempted to contact them repeatedly.

Matt Dunne

Matt Dunne

Hiring Manager, Africa Travel

Lots of job seekers follow up on their applications; doing this shows you are serious, passionate and still interested in the role, keeping you at the forefront of the company’s mind when considering applications.

However, when you do follow up, make sure you don’t pester the company or write long laborious emails as this could actually damage your chances of getting the job.

If there is a deadline, wait at least a week or so after this date until you contact the employer

This will give them time to process and whittle down applications to the best in the bunch. This gentle reminder makes you stand out, showing them you’re prepared to go the extra mile.

Keep your email short and sweet

Considering applications is a long and lengthy process, so don’t add to this with your follow up inquiry. Giving a brief overview of your skills or what makes you stand out is great, but make sure you are polite and cordial, rather than pushy.

If you have any questions about what the role entails, the follow-up email can be a good place to ask

This can create a positive dialogue between you and the employer, proving you are a great candidate and fully intend to thrive within the role.

Nate Masterson

Nate Masterson

CMO, Maple Holistics

Be specific with your email

A follow-up email after a job application or interview can help to put you ahead of the competition and keep you on the mind of the interviewer, who certainly has many other things on their mind.

Things to include in the email would be specific things about the company that you liked, compliment the way they do things – everyone likes to be complimented. Mention how the specific things about the company complement your skills and values.

Finally, you can expand on things that you went over in the interview, so they can see that you are passionate about the job. Finish the email with something along the lines of “hope to hear from you soon” to encourage them to communicate with you whichever way their decision goes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Improve My Chances of Getting a Response to My Follow-Up?

Here are some tips on how to improve your chances of getting a response to your follow-up:

Tailor your follow-up: Make sure your follow-up is tailored to the specific job and company. This will show that you’re genuinely interested in the position and that you have done your research.

Be professional: Your follow-up message should be professional and polite. Avoid coming across as pushy or desperate.

Be specific: Make sure you include the job title and the date you applied in your message. This will help the employer quickly identify your application.

Show gratitude: End your message by thanking the employer for their time and consideration. This leaves a positive impression and can help you stand out from other applicants.

What Should I Do if the Job Posting Explicitly Says Not to Follow Up?

Some job postings may explicitly state that they don’t accept phone calls or follow-up emails. In this case, it’s best to respect the employer’s wishes and not reach out. Here are some things you can do instead:

Research the company: Use the time you would have spent following up to research the company and prepare for a possible interview.

Keep applying: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep applying to other jobs to increase your chances of finding employment.

Stay positive: Remember that not every application will lead to an interview or a job offer. Stay positive and keep working toward your career goals.

How Many Jobs Should I Apply for at Once?

The number of jobs you should apply to at one time depends on your personal circumstances and job search strategy. Here are some factors you should consider:

Time constraints: If you work full-time or have other time commitments, you may need to limit the number of applications to avoid overwhelming yourself.

Quality vs. quantity: It’s important to focus on quality over quantity in your applications. Instead of applying to every job you’re remotely qualified for, take the time to carefully review job postings and tailor your application materials to each position.

Job market: The job market can be competitive, and it may be necessary to apply to a more significant number of jobs to increase your chances of finding employment.

As a general rule, apply for a mix of jobs for which you’re highly qualified and jobs for which you may not have decided yet, but which may be a good fit for you. This way, you can broaden your options and increase your chances of getting a job.

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