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How to Follow up on a Job Application & Resume


This career article covers how to follow up on a job application and resume after you’ve submitted your application to employers and hiring managers.

Sitting around and waiting can be a terrible feeling. That can be said regardless of what it is you’re waiting for, but it’s especially true when it comes to hearing back about a job that you’re really interested in.

Instead of sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for an employer to get back to you, consider following up on your job application. Not only will it help clear your head, but following up can also help you score an interview.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should follow up on your job application, and how to do it properly so you appear professional and confident.

This following up on your resume article will cover:

  • The best ways to follow up on a job application
  • What to say when following up on a job application
  • When (and when you shouldn’t) follow up on a resume
  • Example of a resume follow up email
  • Job application follow up FAQs

Why Follow Up On Job Applications?

First and foremost, following up on your job application can give you the peace of mind you’ve been waiting for. You no longer have to worry whether or not your application was received, and if you receive a response you’ll have a clearer idea of the hiring timelines so you can plan accordingly.

However, following up also indicates to the employer that you’re genuinely interested in the position and not just sending out hundreds of applications to any job that might be a fit.

It also gives you an extra chance to demonstrate why you want to work for that particular company (see our email template for tips), and to briefly remind them of your skills.

All of these things have the potential to help you move from the ‘maybe’ to the ‘yes’ pile when a hiring manager is considering who to interview. Just make sure to follow up in the right way.

When You Should Follow Up With Hiring Managers

Before following up on your job application, go back to the job posting and any other communication you’ve received from the employer (like a confirmation email).

Read them carefully for any suggestion of a date when you might hear back. If there’s a date mentioned, wait until after that date has passed to follow up. For example, if they’ve said you’ll hear back by Friday evening, be sure to wait until Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning to follow up.

If there’s no suggestion of a timeline in the job application, it’s always best to wait a week or two before following up.

To follow up any sooner might make you seem pushy, as it fails to acknowledge the serious time it takes to collect applications, go through them and schedule interviews.

However, don’t wait too long either— especially if you haven’t received a confirmation, as your application may have gotten lost along the way.

4 Steps To Follow Up On Job Applications

Now that you know how important it is to follow up on your job application and you know when to do it, there are some general best practices to follow to make sure you come across in the best light (rather than harassing or annoying your potential employer).

1. Contact Hiring Managers & Employers Online

Though there are many ways to reach out, following up online should be your first point of reference. It’s quicker than a letter and far less invasive to the hiring manager’s working day than a phone call.

Send an email follow-up message, or consider reaching out over LinkedIn (especially if that’s where you submitted your application) — but never any other form of social media.

Check the job posting for a contact name. If you’re still not sure who to contact, you may have to do some digging around the internet. Look through the company’s website to identify who is in charge of hiring, or who is responsible for the department you’ve applied to.

If nobody responds to your emails, you may eventually want to consider reaching out by phone. Some jobs, such as retail jobs, also give you the possibility of dropping by and following up in person. Just be sure to dress professionally to make a great impression.

Follow Up Email After Job Application (Example)

Subject line: Following up on [position name] – [Your name]

Email text:

Hi [Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I’m sure that you’re quite busy handling the hiring process, but I recently applied for the [position] position and wanted to inquire about your timeline.

I am very excited for the chance to work with [company name] to help you [something directly related to the company’s values and/or the job description], and want to ensure that you received my application and have everything you need from me.

Please let me know if there is anything else that I can send you that might be helpful in making your decision as you carry out the hiring process.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

2. Be Polite When Following Up On Resumes

When following up on a job application, acknowledge the fact that the person you’re contacting is likely very busy and thank them for taking the time to read and respond to your inquiry. A little bit of politeness can go a long way.

Part of being polite also means you should keep your inquiry short, as you want to make the recipient feel like you’re respecting their time.

3. Be Professional

When sending a follow-up email, be sure to write in a professional way. Don’t use slang or emojis in your email, and always edit your writing before hitting send.

Also be sure to use a professional-looking email address, not the one you created using your nickname when you were 13 years old. Try variations of your first and last name, like firstname.lastname@email.com, or lastnamefirstname@email.com.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into your email. Be warm and friendly with your tone, while always maintaining a level of professionalism.

4. Know When To Stop Contact

If you’re following up on your job application multiple times, be sure to ask directly in your email whether you should stop reaching out. The recipient will be sure to let you know if you’re bothering them.

Resume Follow Up FAQs

Won’t I be bothering the employer if I follow up on my job application? I don’t want to come across as annoying or needy.

It’s completely normal to not want to appear annoying when reaching out to a potential employer. However, hiring managers who have been doing this for a while will expect applicants to follow up so your email won’t come as a surprise.

We can almost guarantee you won’t be the only applicant following up, and as long as you’re polite and courteous you won’t seem annoying.

Should I follow up again if I haven’t heard back?

Yes, absolutely. There’s no harm in persistence – as long as it’s done politely. Acknowledge the fact that your contact is likely very busy (and receives hundreds of emails a day) and never make accusations like “You’ve been ignoring my emails” or “You haven’t responded yet”.

Don’t follow up every day. Instead, allow for a week or so between follow-ups. And be sure to mix up the dates and times you’re following up for the best chance at reaching them when they’re not busy.

The job description asked applicants not to contact the company directly. Should I follow up anyway?

No. If there are explicit instructions in the job posting to not follow up, don’t assume you will seem extra keen if you do it anyway. Always follow the employer’s directives, otherwise you run the risk of your application going straight into the trash.

When should I stop following up?

If the employer has asked you to stop or has advised you that the position has been filled, there’s no point in continuing to follow up on your job application.

Don’t follow up any more than three to four times, and bear in mind that if you haven’t received a response in a month or more the position has likely been filled or closed.

Did you get a job interview from following up on your resume with an employer?

Make sure you know how to answer “What’s your greatest weakness?” and how to use the STAR interview response method can help you get the job!

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