There’s nothing like reading a job listing and feeling that this could be the perfect job for you. 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’s a few tips on how to follow up on job applications, and when to move on:
Reread the listing.
Before you do anything, read the job description over again thoroughly. Some listings might include a time line that states when applicants the company is interested in can expect to hear a callback. If the date hasn’t approached yet, you should wait (or better, keep applying for other jobs!). But 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.
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.
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. Reintroduce yourself, reiterate your interest in the job, and ask when candidates can expect to hear back. Again, brevity is the goal. After all, if you’re eager to find out what the status of your application is, chances are there are other candidates (possibly dozens) who are also thinking the same way as you.
Just because you sent in your application or actually got to speak with the hiring manager doesn’t mean that you’re bosom buddies. When you follow up, make sure to be professional in your communication. You can certainly be friendly, but also be clear and concise in what you say to create a favorable impression.
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.
Know the 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. Typically, you can reach out a week or two after you’ve sent in your application. This is a fair amount of time for an employer to have gone through the applications and determined the candidates who qualified for the job.
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.
Jump on the social media bandwagon and “Like” the company’s Facebook page and follow their Twitter feed. If they post questions, be sure to answer them to show your enthusiasm—and your knowledge of their corporate culture. Then, go to 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.
Give a call.
If you haven’t heard back about your job application after two weeks, it’s perfectly acceptable to call the hiring manager unless 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, “We’re still in the preliminary stages of vetting candidates and going through applications,” you can say something like, “Do you know when you’ll be in touch with candidates you’re interested in?” 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.
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 nudge them along by letting them know that other companies are interested in you—if and only if that’s true. Send a friendly email to the company letting them know that you are still very interested in the role, but have other opportunities to explore. 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 recruiters to look at you more seriously and/or move things along in the process.
Sure, you may believe you found the job of your dreams. But it’s never a good idea to stop seeking other jobs while you wait to hear back. So if they haven’t responded after a few weeks—even after you’ve followed up—it’s best to move on. Not only will continuing your job search keep you from dwelling on the job you really want, you might find another position that’s an even better fit for you.
While you may feel like you’re “bothering” the person if you follow up on your job applications, you’re really not. Following up is an expected part of the application process. So be proactive about getting the position of your dreams!
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