Career Advice, Insights

How to Follow Up on Your Job Application

Woman typing on laptop at a cafe

You’ve invested a lot of time in your job search — researching job openings, identifying companies, perfecting your resume and sharpening your interview skills.

Now, you’re ready to take the first big step. A perfect role just opened at your dream company — meticulously, you complete the online application, attach your cover letter and CV and send everything off!

Now what?

You should proactively follow up while keeping in mind that dozens — even hundreds — of other CVs are also flooding the same HR department, making it difficult to personally respond to each applicant.

This doesn’t take away from the value of sending a courteous and concise follow up, though. In fact, following up (the right way) may be just what’s needed to distinguish your application from the pack.

Consider these steps to follow up after submitting your online application.

How to Follow Up: Step #1

If a contact email is provided, make note of this along with the date you submitted your application.

  • Approximately one week after submitting your application, plan a brief, courteous email check-in to confirm they received it. Use this opportunity to also reinforce your enthusiasm for the role.
  • If another week passes and you still have not heard back, then another short, one- to two-paragraph note is in order, indicating genuine interest in the position and enquiring about next steps. You may also use this second follow-up to reinforce how you envision using your skills to solve a potential challenge you suspect — or even know — the company is facing. Keep this “solution” very brief (1-3 sentences). The power of this “future impact” proposal is to trigger a connection between your value proposition and their pain points.

How to Follow Up: Step # 2

If a contact email is NOT provided during the application process, then you will need to be a bit more creative.

  • Search the company site to locate contact names that are related to the particular role or division for which you applied. If you find a name, but no method of reaching them, you should still make note of it.
  • Next, research that person and company name online, and when you locate them, hunt for an email address. Using the email address, conduct the follow-up similarly (but not exactly the same) as mentioned above — brief, polite and enthusiastic notes indicating you have applied to a role at their company.
  • Communicate that upon researching further, you discovered this person may be a person of influence, and perhaps even is the one vetting resumes for the open job. As such, you wanted to reach out with a brief status enquiry while further expressing your interest. Be careful not to imply an expected response, and that your intentions are simply to express further interest in the role.
  • If you have a name but cannot locate an email, then perhaps a call to the company reception desk will help. Indicate who you are trying to reach and simply request the best way to email them. You can also search Facebook or other social media sites to unearth more information.

Applying for jobs at smaller or mid-sized companies may provide a more direct route to following up as often, key leadership/ownership are listed, along with contact information, directly on the site.

Whether emailing or phoning, keep your tone upbeat and professionally passionate, indicating that you would love to explore working for this company. Be specific to prove your sentiments are credible. And always be prepared to walk away from the conversation and move on to the next potential opportunity, without leaving a trail of angst or pressure in your wake. Stay positive, which will not only serve your job search well, but will also help you move more confidently throughout the process.

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