You’ve spent weeks or even months searching for a new job: trawling jobs boards, crafting your resume and cover letter, and sending out applications. How do you know if your application was read or received, or when you can expect to hear back?
Follow-up contact after submitting an application is a great way to make yourself stand out from the other applicants. It also gives you an idea as to how long you should hold out for the job and when it’s time to shop elsewhere.
To call or not to call?
Don’t expect to get an email response–or any other response, for that matter–saying that your application was received. Each time a company posts a job ad, they are inundated with applications and cannot reasonably reply to any. That said, companies expect, and in some cases like, to receive follow-up calls or emails from applicants. A follow-up email as opposed to call is usually best, as it is least demanding on the hiring manager’s time. However, if the job ad specifies a contact who is willing to answer questions, feel free to give them a call to enquire whether your application was received.
How to follow-up
Time your follow-up about one week after sending your initial application. This gives the hiring staff adequate time to begin looking through the applications without allowing too much time to pass. The best time to call or email someone is on a Tuesday or Thursday morning at around 10am. Try to avoid calling or emailing on Mondays or Fridays, especially early morning or last thing before closing time.
Make sure you are emailing the same person you sent your application to, i.e. the contact specified on the job ad. If an email address was not provided, and you submitted via a jobs board or the company’s website, then you’ll need to be a little more creative with your follow-up email. Search for the hiring manager on the company’s website and contact them directly, or call up at reception to find out who the relevant contact is.
What to say
Your follow up email should be ultra-brief to ensure it gets read and replied to. The more words you write, the less likely the recipient is to read or reply to your follow-up. Simply state that you are checking in to see if your application was received, and reinstate your enthusiasm for the role. In most cases, you’ll get a response telling you when the applications should be processed and when you can expect to hear back.
If calling, the same principle of brevity applies. Introduce yourself as one of the applicants and enquire as to whether your application has been received. You may take this opportunity to restate, in a few words–without taking up too much of the hiring staff’s time–why you’d be perfect for the role. For example, you could state your experience in a similar role or your years of experience in the industry. You may also enquire as to the application period time frame and when they expect to make a decision, but again, keep it brief and polite.
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