How to follow up job applications

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What do you do after you send a job application? Do you just wait for weeks or months for a reply? Have you ever considered following-up?

Many Human Resources professionals recommend it because:

  • It shows companies your interest in the job.
  • It is a chance to state your qualifications.
  • You can be seen as a proactive and competent candidate.

This attention can boost your chances of being considered for an interview.

Important: If the job posting says “no follow-ups” then don’t do it.


Four simple steps to following-up your application:

  1. Wait for a week
    • The best time to follow-up is between a week to 10 days.
    • You can wait longer. For example, if you applied early and the deadline of application is months away.
    • Generally, one to two weeks is a good time to follow-up.

  2. Decide on the best way to do it
    • You could do it by email or phone call. Choose depending on your personality.
    • Some people shine during phone calls. But prepare your message before calling.
    • Sending an email can be a safe and convenient choice.
    • Some advice sending a letter through postage because it is more formal. It can be memorable because nobody else will do it. But consider if it will be practical. Many offices want an environment friendly “paper-free” workplace.

  3. Prepare your message
    • If you are making a call:
      • Write down important points or questions before calling. For example: “I am calling to check if you received my application for (position) on (date).” “May I know the timeline for your decision process?”
      • Practice what you are going to say. It will make you more confident.
      • Start your call with a greeting. Always be polite.
      • Ask for the hiring manager. If he is not there, ask for a good time to call again.
      • Make the call in a quiet place.
      • Don’t call during peak work hours or on holidays.
      • Record a professional voice mail message in case they decide to call you back.
      • Be enthusiastic. Smiling while talking on the phone can make your voice sound lively.
      • Say that you will be delighted to come for an interview.

    • If you are sending an email:
      • Make it brief and concise. Read 7 tips for writing great emails.
      • Write the name of the position you are applying for and the date you sent your application.
      • Address it to the hiring manager.
      • Emphasize how much you would like to be a part of the company.
      • Add new information in your email. For example, congratulate the company for a recent achievement. Or if you’ve had a recent achievement yourself, like finishing a course, mention it.
      • Try adding this reminder: “If there are points that are not clear to you in my resume, I will be happy to discuss them with you. I am available for interview on (date) or at a date more convenient for you” at the end of your email.
      • Close with a “Thank you”.
      • Here is a sample follow-up email: How to follow-up on a job application: An email template by Alex Cavoulacos of The Muse.com.

  4. Call or send your follow-up email
    • Make sure you have the right contact person, phone number or email address.
    • Make a list if you have sent out plenty of applications. This will prevent you from making mistakes. Being confused about your applications will make you look unprofessional. Indicate the:
      • company
      • job title
      • date you sent the application
      • contact person
      • contact details
      • date of follow-up
    • Don’t call or email again too soon If the company doesn’t respond. It may annoy the staff and make you look too desperate.
    • Don’t contact the company more than three times. Leave a couple of weeks in between inquiries (About Careers).

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