How To Follow up on a Job Application

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 4 February 2023

Published 22 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Checking back on the status of your job application is an important step that requires proper execution. Knowing when and how to follow up can help you stand out from the competition. It can also improve your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explain how to follow up on a job application and offer tips on when and how to craft an excellent job application follow-up email.

What does following up on a job application mean?

Following up on a job application means contacting an employer after submitting your resume or attending an interview to reiterate your interest in the job. The follow-up is crucial, as it distinguishes you from other applicants and boosts your odds of securing employment. There's no universally accepted method of following up on an application. You can make a phone call or email the recruiting manager to ask for updates on your application.

Related: How to Write a Job Application Email

How to follow up on a job application email

Follow these guidelines when following up on a job application email:

1. Give a two-week interval

Although getting excited over a job application is normal, it's advisable to wait at least two weeks before following up. The two-week interval ensures the recruiter has enough time to review and process various applications. Following this rule can benefit your job application. For example, you may get valuable information about the interview process after the recruiter reviews all applications.

2. Find the recruiting manager's contact information

Once the two-week interval approaches its end, start looking for ways to contact the recruiting manager. Check the job posting to see if it has an email address you can use. Browse the company website to check for the recruiting manager's details if the job advertisement has no email address.

When you have the recruiting manager's details, it's easier to craft a personalised message in your follow-up. This is preferable to sending a generic follow-up email that may not attract the recruiter's attention.

3. Send an email

The next step in following up on your job application is to email the recruiting manager. Ensure that your email is brief, precise and straight to the point. If possible, try keeping your email to about three paragraphs. Emailing can be a quicker process, as a letter may take too long to reach the recruiting manager. An email also has a higher chance of being read, unlike a letter that can be lost in the physical mailing process.

Related: How To Write a Follow-Up Email After an Interview

4. Call the recruitment manager

If you want an even quicker response, a phone call may be a better option. However, it's better to use this as a last resort to avoid looking intrusive. The rule of brevity applies here as well; keep your calls under two to three minutes.

When you start the call, ensure to ask the recruiter if they are available for a conversation. If they say no, then request another time to call. Please do the same things you would in a follow-up email during the call: restate your interest and remind them of your initial application.

Related: Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round

5. Reiterate your interest

When writing your follow-up email, restate your interest in the job from the start. This can show the recruiter your commitment and dedication to the position. This can help you stand out from the competition, especially if other potential candidates are equally qualified.

Related: Interview Question: 'Why Should We Hire You?'

6. Show value

Don't just confirm your interest in the job; show why you're the best candidate for the role. Share your key skills, achievements and experience to demonstrate your value. This is an effective strategy for attracting attention to your application and increasing your chances of getting a positive response.

Related: Email Examples: How to Respond to an Employer Interview Request

7. Adopt an appropriate tone

The language of your follow-up email is critical to the success of the entire follow-up process. You want to be polite and humble when following up via phone call or email. Express your gratitude to the employer or recruiting manager for making time to review your application. Then finish up with a defined call-to-action, such as suggesting to the hiring manager to set up an interview or a phone call.

8. Review your message

Before sending your follow-up email, read it carefully and edit for any errors. Error-free prose can leave a good impression on people, which is ideal when applying for a job. Ensure that your message follows professional guidelines, especially those of brevity and clarity. You can use a free checker to spot any hidden errors in word selection, sentence structure, tone and logical flow.

When to follow up on a job application

While there are no rules around the timing of a follow-up application, waiting for a week or two before following up is ideal. It's good to follow up early, but not too early that you seem impolite or pushy. Whatever time you choose, follow up on all job applications. The follow-up reduces your uncertainty and renews the hiring manager's attention in your bid to land the job.

Here are some tips for selecting the best time to send a follow-up email:

Use a mail tracker

An excellent tip to guide the timing of your job application follow-up is to use a mail tracking service. With this tool, you'll know when your application gets opened, giving you a better idea of when to follow up. While a recruiting manager opening your mail doesn't mean they've read it, using a mail tracker is better than guessing. For starters, it reduces the guesswork around the timing of the follow-up.

Check the job advertisement

Some companies may indicate their preference that candidates avoid making inquiries about applications during a specific period. This can be because they are in the midst of shortlisting candidates. The job listing may have a response time, after which it's okay to reach out to ask for details about your application. If you want to follow up, you can do so within the acceptable period.

Send an online resume

Nowadays, it's common for professionals to use an online resume/portfolio service. With an online resume, you can track resume views, so it's possible to know when the hiring manager reads your resume. Follow up on the job application within one to two weeks after confirming the recruiter has seen your resume.

Related: What Is an E-Resume and Why Is It Important? (With Types)

What to say when following up on a job application

When following up on a job application, you want to reiterate your interest in the job. It's also advisable for you to reemphasise your value and give reasons for the company to employ you. Ask for details about the recruiter's decision timeline or interview plans. This helps reduce your uncertainty, especially when unsure if the recruiting team has received your application.

Related: Email Examples of How to Respond to a Recruiter Effectively

Here are some sample messages you can use when doing the follow-up via email or phone:

Example follow-up email message

"Dear [Insert recruiting manager's name],

I applied for the role of Business Strategy Lead in your company last week. I want to ask about the status of my application and your response date.

I am excited at the prospect of using my skills in business strategy and planning to drive your company's growth and expansion in the marketplace. Furthermore, I believe my experience in coordinating strategies for multiple companies makes me suitable for this role.

Please reach out if you want any clarifications about my job application. I look forward to discussing some ideas I think fit your company's business goals.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
Tan Kiat Hian
tan.kiathian@gmail.com
+65 1234 5678

Example follow-up phone call script

"Hello, Mr Lim. My name is Boon Heng. I applied for the Business Strategy Lead job advertised on the Maju dan Berjaya website. I wanted to confirm if you got my application. In my opinion, my decades-long experience in creating winning business strategies for Fortune 500 companies makes me a perfect fit for this role. Please contact me at teh.boonheng@gmail.com or 8123 4567 for questions concerning my application.

I look forward to sharing some of my ideas for improving Maju dan Berjaya' current market performance. Thank you for your consideration."

Related: Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round

Tips for following up on a job application

Following up on a job application is easier when you have a structure and system in place. Here are some tips to guide you when sending job follow-up messages:

Liaise with the recruiting manager

It's better to address your follow-up email to the hiring manager than to the human resources department. Since the recruiting manager makes the final decision, they are the ones you need to impress, not the HR unit. That way, you are addressing your message to someone who has the power to act on it and take the desired action.

Use a clear subject line for your follow-up email

Make the subject line of your follow-up email clear, so the recruiter knows what it's about from a glance. You can use the following format for writing subject lines in a follow-up email: "Following up on the application for" + job title. For example, your email title can be: "Following up on the application for Business Strategy Lead".

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Standing Out to Hiring Managers During COVID-19

Send out other job applications

Avoid spending all your effort on a job application while neglecting other opportunities. Different factors can prevent you from getting a particular job. Hence, it's better to have other options and give each application equal attention.

Related: 10 Essential Tips for Applying for Jobs Successfully

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