In 7 Steps: Exactly How to Follow Up on a Job Application

Exactly How to Follow UpWith the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the unemployment rate for 20-to-29-year-olds is 13.5%, the job market is a crowded place for younger adults… and you need every advantage possible.

With that in mind, and knowing many recruiters rarely receive professional follow-up from candidates of any experience level, set yourself apart with this step-by-step guide to following up on a job application:

1. Send the Application, Then Lay Low for 24 to 48 Hours

If someone responds via email and says, ‘Thanks for applying. We’ll be in touch if we need blah blah blah…’ then you know your resume/cover letter made it to the right place.

If you don’t hear a peep after 24 hours…

2. Take Action

If 100 people apply for the same job, the employer may not respond to each person and say ‘Thanks for applying. We got your stuff.’ No big deal. Maybe it’s just the way the company handles the hiring process.

3. Find the Email Address of Hiring/HR and Write:


My name is ______, and I recently applied for the position of _______. I want to make sure you received my application. If you can, please let me know.

Thanks very much.’

If no answer by email…

4. Call the Front Desk and Say the Same Thing

Be polite and don’t come across offended that no one responded to your application OR email. If the employer confirms he/she received your application, you’re golden. Now, you have two reasons to feel good:

  • You don’t have to worry that your application got lost in the shuffle
  • You’ve shown the employer that you know how to follow through

Did all 100 applicants call/email to check on the status of their applications?

No way. But you did, and now you look pretty sharp in the eyes of the employer. Doesn’t guarantee the position, but it can’t hurt.

5. If No Response, Wait 3 Business Days and Call Again

If you still can’t reach anyone after the second call, then it’s time to ease up. The company may have internal issues, which could help decide if you even want to work there.

6. If Still No Response, Wait One Full Week

Recruiters get bausy. Applicant tracking systems get backed up. So if you still haven’t received a response after a full week has passed (and 10 to 14 days after the initial application was submitted), reach out one more time via email and phone:

‘I submitted an application for the position of <title> on <date>. The fit, both from an experience and culture point of view, seems perfect. When your schedule allows, let’s discuss the opportunity to work together.’

Then, add something of value to the recruiter:

‘I recently came across this post that mentions <the importance of an issue critical to the culture of that company | the competition’s new product | the company CEO> and wanted share. I look forward to discussing.’

Do NOT say how interested you are; your words and actions say that for you. Most important, do not mention anything that implies desperation (‘I really need to hear from you’).

Keep your last follow-up professional and positive.

And if you still don’t hear from them… they aren’t interested. Your resume did not make it through the ATS. Perhaps they didn’t see your qualifications as a match. Or maybe the position has been filled internally. No matter the reason, move on. Find another target company, and circle back to this one in 6o to 90 days.

7. Above All, Do Not Be Timid

In the job market, you need to look out for yourself at all times. Never let this thought cross your mind:

‘I don’t want to call the company and check on my application because I would just be bothering them.’

Nonsense. Pure, unfiltered hogwash.

If you want the job, go for it. Let the employer know you exist, demand (in a nice way) that someone acknowledge your application. It’s not brown-nosing, and it’s not being overly aggressive.

There are people who wait for the world to come to them. And there are those who go out and make things happen. There are people who hang on to that one application… and wait and hope for a response. And there are people who know when to move on.

Which one are you?





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!


News to Live By


Danny Rubin headshotAbout the Author: Danny Rubin is a PR professional at Rubin Communications Group in Virginia Beach, VA. A former TV reporter, Danny also writes News To Live By (NTLB), a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons in the day’s top stories. His NTLB columns are featured on several blogs and news sites, including Huffington PostLifehacker, PolicyMic and Brazen Life. Danny also contributes to Parade Magazine. Follow the blog on Twitter!


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