How to Follow Up on a Job Application (4 Easy Steps) [+ Example Email]
Following up on a job application can be a powerful way to show a potential employer enthusiasm for the open position. It can display professionalism and good business practices, as well. Since many sales, customer service, and general business emails require following up to ensure the job is completed.
The average decision timeline for a job application is around two weeks. Meaning, if the hiring manager or hiring team hasn’t reached out regarding a job application after the first week from submission, it’s important to send a follow-up email.
Asking questions in the follow-up email can be a great way to encourage a response. Asking about the hiring process or job application status can be beneficial. It’s best not to ask questions about the company values or objectives as that should have been covered in the cover letter, resume, and job application itself.
How to Follow up on a Job Application
Here’s how to follow up on a job application as a job seeker or job candidate.
Wait one to two weeks
The average time a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR manager will review an application and get back to a job candidate is around one to two weeks. It’s important that during a job search, the candidate doesn’t reach out too soon. Provide the managers with enough time to read the application materials before sending a follow-up.
Tip: As a job seeker, if you can’t recall when the job application was submitted, use the job description or job posting date as a point of reference. On the job board, it usually lists how old the job advertisement is.
Contact the hiring manager by email or LinkedIn
It can be helpful to follow-up in a few places. The first would be to follow-up directly with the job application. This might have been made to a company email address like “[email protected]” — find the original email and reply to that to follow-up. Also, reaching out to the hiring manager directly can be beneficial.
The best place to do that is to use the social media tool LinkedIn. Find the hiring managers or team lead’s LinkedIn profile and send them a message through LinkedIn. A follow-up email can be used as a LinkedIn message. It could be beneficial to speak to the right person hiring for the role if the manager outsourced the job of looking for prospects to the human resources team.
Tip: It might seem obnoxious to reach out to the hiring manager directly. But this level of enthusiasm and motivation for the open job opportunity can encourage the employer to make a job offer. It shows the applicant can attack the job market with some level of aggression.
Send a follow up email
As an applicant, avoid sending multiple emails back to back. Avoid using automated emails. The follow-up email should be short, roughly 150 to 200 words. And ask questions about the application process, interview process, or hiring process. Additionally, a job applicant can check to ensure that the job application was received.
A single follow up email is sufficient. Any more follow up emails than one might be considered “badgering” the employee and recruiter.
Avoid emails that use generic statements to try and encourage a response. For example:
Add additional qualifications and career accomplishments
In circumstances where the applicant is emailing the hiring manager directly, it can be beneficial to include additional career accomplishments, an additional job reference, or another accomplishment that shows the applicant is a “good fit” for the job title. This can encourage the response from the email recipient, hiring manager, and prospective employer.
Including additional information can help the job application review process. Additionally, it can assist the interviewer in preparing for a phone interview or on-site interview.
Note the job listing (online job application)
At times, job listings can mention that the candidate should not call or email regarding the opportunity. In those circumstances, it's best to follow the companies policies and guidelines regarding contacting employees. It's a common case that the job listing says "no phone calls" or "do not make a phone call regarding this opportunity."
Even if you know the hiring manager's name/email or contact information, it might be more suitable to wait. As a job seeker, the only time placing a phone call to the hiring manager might be suitable is in retail positions where the hiring manager is tasked with more jobs than reviewing job applications. Job seekers should make a call in that situation. And follow up on the job opening.
Follow-up on a Job Application by Phone
To follow up by phone, simply call the hiring manager at their location. Be sure that this is only being used as a tactic in retail positions or sales positions. Somewhere that the hiring manager is more commonly tasked with their day-to-day activities than reviewing candidates.
When making a call, it can be a separator from other candidates. And this follow-up serves as a mention of how passionate the applicant is about the job (or shows their extreme interest in the job opportunity).
Here's what to say by phone:
"Hi Denise, this is Ryan. I wanted to touch base about my job application as Barista at Starbucks. I know you're busy with the regular activities and I wanted to see if there were any questions about my resume and cover letter. I'm happy to come into the store and speak with you as well."
If the person doesn't answer by phone, it's okay to write a follow-up email.
Job Application Follow-up Email Sample
Below is a sample follow up letter that can be used to follow up on a submitted job application by email.
Subject Line: Following Up - John Smith - Product Designer
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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