Itching to follow up on a job application? Do it the right way.
You finally found a job posting that looks like the perfect fit. You filled out the application, paying close attention to every little detail. Then you crafted a brilliant cover letter, wrapped it all in a bow, and sent it off 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 back and wait for a response. Have you already been ruled out? How long will you have to wait? Did they even get your resume? You want to get in touch with someone and ask, but can you do that without being a pest?
Yes, you can! 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. If you've found yourself up at night wondering how to tackle this properly, here's are some tips to help you follow up on a job application.
First things first...
When considering whether to follow up on a job application, pay close attention to the original job posting. If they included a note like “No phone calls, please” or any other phrasing that discourages follow-ups, play by their rules. If they are making the specific effort to 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 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'll want to make certain that you are connecting with the right person and addressing them by name. The company could make it easy by having that information 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 who you know? If so, reach out and ask questions about the position. You may even 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 answer here — different hiring managers may have different thoughts on this. However, if you send in your application and have not heard anything for seven to 10 days, you're in safe territory. You want to give them enough time to look 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, that's how you know they are starting to process things.
How should you contact them?
In today's technology-driven 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 disrupting the person's day. Yes, you do risk disappearing into a spam folder, but even that is preferable to not following up at all.
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 job listing, email is 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 following up on a job application should be to get your name in front of the hiring manager's eyes and express your interest in the job. In your follow-up email, introduce yourself and state that you have applied for the position and are very interested in the job.
Here's where you can sell yourself a little. Take 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 but 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, and be sure to make it friendly and relaxed. Even though you want them to respond and tell you where they are in the hiring process, you aren't in a position to make demands.
When following up, keep it concise. Whether you're on the phone or sending an email, you don't want to eat up much of their time. Short, sweet, and to the point — they'll appreciate that.
When should you follow up again?
Never. It sounds a bit blunt, but the reality is that if you try to contact a hiring manager 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. You are in real danger of coming across as needy and annoying.
What else can you 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.
Job hunting can be very stressful — filling out forms, digging through your own work history, and playing the waiting game gets old fast. Unfortunately, there's no magic trick to make companies look at your application and reply right away, so keep applying to multiple jobs and keep track of when you send in your materials. Then, when the time 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 give you a huge boost, but only if you do it right. Beware of being too persistent or pushy or you may hurt your chances of landing the gig. But when you follow up thoughtfully, you can get the answers you need and make a great impression as well.
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