4 ways to follow up on a job application

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

We’ve all been there, and it is one of the most frustrating and demoralising parts of job seeking. You’ve invested lots of time and effort into submitting an amazing CV and cover letter, then regularly hit the refresh button on your inbox or eagerly await the postie for details of the anticipated job interview.

Often, it feels as though your application has disappeared into an abyss, never to be heard of again.

Did my CV get lost?

Did I leave out my contact details?

Am I no good at what I do, and no one wants to employ me?

These are the thoughts that may run through your head.

Why have you not heard?

The recruitment process usually consists of a few stages.  Your CV might be run through Applicant Tracking Software, then sent to a human to read, on to a more senior human eye, before finally being passed back down the chain asking someone to invite you to the next stage. The reasons are many and sometimes you’ll never find out.

The tips below will help you along the way.

To make you stand out from the crowd and to gain a higher chance of getting feedback (if you don’t get an interview, it’s good to know why for your next application), it’s a great idea to follow up on the application. It demonstrates your enthusiasm and interest in the role as well as putting your mind at rest regarding some of the worries mentioned above. It could also set you apart from other candidates who have similar experience/qualifications to you.

In a survey of over 300 UK employers, conducted by Reed, 82% of recruiters indicated that it reflects well on a candidate when they get back in touch. However, don’t overdo it both in terms of timing and how you execute the follow-up. Two weeks is a good time to wait and don’t get back in touch more than a couple of times.

Email

This is a good method as you both have a record of what you have sent, and recruiters can respond at a time that suits them.

  • Send your email from a professional email address (consider setting up an email account purely for your job search).
  • Keep it short and professional.
  • Put the title of the job you have applied to in the subject line, then write a few sentences to thank them for taking time to read your application and ask if they have questions regarding your experience etc.
  • If you have accomplished anything within your role or gained a new qualification since your original application, you can include this here, but not too much information, the email should be quite short.
  • If you have any questions regarding the application process, ask this before signing off.
  • As with your CV and cover letter, spell check and proofread the email before firing it off.

Phone

This is more of a direct approach and some could find it intrusive, but in other industries e.g., sales, hiring managers could see this method as a positive.

  • Be polite, friendly, and enthusiastic.
  • Introduce yourself and ask if they have received your application and when they will be making their decision.
  • If they haven’t yet decided, you have a better chance of sticking in their mind. You can also ask if they need any clarification on your application or any further information. If they have decided and it is a “No”, now is the time to ask for feedback.
  • End the call on a positive note and thank them for their time.
  • It’s a good idea to practice what you are going to say before making the call, ensuring you are clear and don’t speak too quickly.
  • If you phone and are greeted with the answering machine, leave a clear, succinct message including your name, contact details and title of the job you have applied for.

LinkedIn

Firstly, ensure your LinkedIn profile is bang up to date.

  • If you have the name of the recruiter, consider adding them to your LinkedIn network or messaging them through LinkedIn. This also allows you to demonstrate your network, endorsements etc.
  • Your message will be similar to the email content above – subject line, reaffirming your interest in the role and company, asking if they require clarification or more information, and thanking them for their consideration.

Letter

Do people write letters anymore? Certainly not to the degree they used to, and this could work in your favour as it adds a personal touch, shows your interest, and could help you stand out from other applicants who follow up using other methods.

  • The letter can be handwritten or typed, consist of a few succinct sentences and as above, thank them for their time and consideration.
  • If appropriate you could include a professional business card with the letter.
  • First-class post is good as it shows you place importance on sending the letter.
  • As with your CV and cover letter, spend time on the presentation and format. You can create a document similar to personalised stationery e.g., name/address as a header; phone/email details as a footer. Ensure the letter is well spaced and use a font such as Arial or Calibri – matched to what you have used for your CV.
  • Include the date. contact name, and address of where you are applying to and put the title of the role you are applying to as a subject line.

How you decide to follow up depends on your preference, the culture of the company you are applying to, and the industry. What is key is that you shouldn’t wait for them to get in touch – what do you have to lose?

Remember, if you don’t get this job, your perfect job is out there, it just requires a bit of patience but will be worth it in the end!