There’s nothing like reading a job listing and feeling that this could be the perfect job for you. So you apply to the position—and then it’s crickets.
Unfortunately, this can (and does) happen a whole lot when you’re job searching. The hiring process can drag on for weeks (and sometimes months), and the waiting can be absolute agony. If you really want to know if you’re in the running for the job, you should follow up on your job application. Here’s how to do it the right way!
Here are 11 tips on how to follow up on job applications:
1. Reread the listing.
Before you do anything, read the job description over again thoroughly. FlexJobs’ career coach Toni Frana offers this advice: “Pay attention to dates or timelines that may be included in the posting. In the job posting, a company may mention when the application window closes. Once you apply, you wouldn’t want to follow up prior to that date. Instead, use the opportunity to keep applying for other positions!”
If the date has already passed and you didn’t hear anything from the employer, it might be time to put a pin in it and move on for now.
2. Be respectful.
In some scenarios, the job listing might state for applicants to not call or email for their status. If that’s the case, you should abide by the employer’s wishes and refrain from reaching out. Although it can be totally frustrating to wait it out, you shouldn’t follow up—even though you really want to. If you ignore the request, the recruiter will think you either did not read the job listing carefully or that you do not follow directions well.
3. Be brief.
It’s a good idea to know what you’re going to say before following up on a job application. So whether you opt to call the hiring manager, email, or send a LinkedIn message, try to keep your contact as brief as possible.
“It’s important to keep your correspondence short, as hiring managers and recruiters are likely receiving emails and notes from dozens of other candidates as well, so brevity is key. Your email or note should express two key things: your continued interest in the job, and a question about when candidates can expect to hear about next steps,” says Frana.
4. Be professional.
Just because you sent in your application or actually got to speak with the hiring manager doesn’t mean that you’re bosom buddies. Being overly personal or casual is a mistake. Recruiters and hiring managers are friendly, and it is their job to talk to several people about a position. They don’t, however, have time to become personal friends with everyone they interview. Even if your initial interaction was excellent, be professional and respect personal boundaries when following up on job applications.
5. Ask a follow-up question.
Sure, you know that you really just want to find out if you got the gig or not. But in order to justify your follow up, you might want to pose a question to the employer. If they’re still receiving applications, you can ask when they expect to start narrowing down their decisions and when interviews will begin. This can give you a guideline of when you can expect to hear back.
6. Know the right timing.
While you might want to follow up on a job application just a few days after submitting it, you should probably wait a little longer. Frana suggests: “Unless the job posting specifically states the application closing window, in which case that gives you a target date for follow-up, waiting about a week or two before following up on applications is a good rule of thumb. In general, this gives the hiring team enough time on their end to review received applications.”
7. Pick the right day.
If there are two days to avoid following up with someone, it is Monday and Friday. Monday is often a busy transition day as people move back into work mode. As for Friday, if the person doesn’t see your email, it may get buried under a weekend’s worth of emails. Ideally, stick with Tuesday through Thursday for following up on job applications.
8. Use your connections.
Maybe your former colleague (or your Aunt Marty) is friends with one of the execs at the new company you want to work for. Go through your business and personal contacts to see if you know anyone who can help you get your foot in the door—or get your resume placed at the head of the pile. Explain the role that you’re looking to get, and everything that qualifies you for the job, such as your education, skills set, and work experience. But don’t stop there—be sure to offer your assistance to the person, too. That way, they might be more amenable to helping you as well.
You can also use LinkedIn to see if you have anyone in your network who might have a connection to the company you’d like to work for. If you do, you can always reach out and see if that person has some inside intel on the job. Depending on your relationship with the person, you might be able to ask for a recommendation or for the person to put in a good word for you.
9. Get social.
Jump on the social media bandwagon and “Like” the company’s Facebook page and follow their Twitter feed. “In today’s job market, companies want to find an employee with the right skill set and someone who fits in with the company culture. Showing and expressing interest in the company can be done through engaging with them on social media. Follow the company page on LinkedIn and other platforms. Like and comment on their posts as this shows the team you are enthused about what they are doing,” suggests Frana.
10. Give a call.
If you haven’t heard back about your job application after two weeks, it’s perfectly acceptable to call the hiring managerunless the listing states otherwise. You can say: “Hi, I’m following up on an application that I sent. I’m very interested in the role and your company, and I just wanted to ensure that you received it.” This way you’ll know if the person is still sorting through resumes or if the position has already been filled. Then, listen to what the person says.
If they say that they’re in the preliminary stages of vetting candidates and going through applications, you can ask if they know a timeline with when they’ll be in touch with candidates. If you don’t receive a phone call or an email during the time period specified, you are probably not a contender for the position.
11. Let them know you’re in demand.
If the company has expressed interest in you as a candidate for the job, but you haven’t heard anything since that initial contact, you can try to speed up the process by letting them know that other companies are interested in you—if and only if that’s true. “If you do have other companies interested in you, but are interested in a particular position, you can think about letting them know you’re in demand. Simply stating in your follow-up email that you continue to be very interested in the position, but are also exploring other opportunities can be a gentle way to nudge a company along,” says Frana.
Don’t use any sort of threatening language, and be careful that you don’t come off as egotistical. But subtly letting them know you’re in demand can be a smart tactic, as it may encourage companies to look at you more seriously and/or move things along in the process.
While you may feel like you’re bothersome, knowing how to follow up on a job application could be the difference between getting interviews and not making any progress. Following up is an expected part of the application process, so be proactive about getting the job you want!