Following-up with each job listing you apply for can greatly increase the chances of securing an interview. It can also help you to avoid the feeling of your application being sent into a black hole. Just know that the advice below will depend a lot on your previous research about a company; specifically their size and how they handle the hiring process in general.
The first thing we can do to start the follow-up process is to keep detailed notes on all of the jobs you apply to. Take note of all of the different forms of contact a company uses when hiring: e-mail address, phone number, physical address, fax numbers, website address, etc. You’ll also want to look out for any names that will be important, such as people you’ll need to address cover letters to.
Other things include the names of people you’ve had correspondence with, how many times you’ve followed up, and when you plan on following up again. Keeping track of the process will be important so that you can schedule your phone calls or e-mails in the future.
How To Follow-Up
After you’ve done the research, it’s time to follow-up. My preference for following-up is to either do it in person or over the phone. Regardless, the process for either is generally the same with a few changes here and there.
If you’ve applied in person such as in dropping off a resume, then I would also follow-up in person a week or so later if I haven’t heard back from the company. I think a week is appropriate regardless of follow-up method. Make sure to wear something professional if you’re going in and be ready to interview on the spot. You’ll want to re-introduce yourself just in case, and let them know when you first applied and for what position. Just ask how things have been going and if the position is still available. If it’s still open, express your willingness and availability to interview for the position.
If the Position’s Still Open
If they say, “no, it’s been filled”, be graceful and thank them for the opportunity. If you interviewed with them, also send or drop off a small thank you card.
But let’s say they tell you the position hasn’t been filled, then what can you do?
As mentioned above, if they say it’s still available with no qualifiers that’s when you jump and mention you’ve just applied a week ago and would love to interview for it, and ask when they are available.
Other times you may get some version of, “No it’s not filled yet, but…”
- “We’re still going through resumes.”
- “We’re still getting through interviews”
- “We’re calling out now for interviews.”
In any of these cases, you are still asking for the interview. Don’t be hurt or alarmed if you’re turned down. When making your follow-up call or visit, remember that your contact still has a job to do and you may be interrupting it. Some companies and businesses do take quite some time to set up interviews. Although a week is a good buffer for a follow-up, it can still be relatively quick. Bottom line: be patient, but stick to the follow-up plan.
More traditional written follow ups will be written much like a cover letter with a little less detail. The employer will of course already have your resume and original cover letter, so in your follow-up you’ll want to reference when and for what position you applied.
Express your enthusiasm for the position and again detail your eagerness to interview for the position. Widen your availability as much as possible for a higher chance for a call back. List all the ways you can be contacted and be ready for the phone call should they call you back.
Wrapping Up Your Follow-Ups
Part of tracking your job search will be setting realistic expectations on the follow-up process. If you’ve followed up for a month straight, every week, with no result then it may be time to put that job listing away and put more energy toward other opportunities. As I mentioned, the first follow-up can generally take place a week after you apply. After that, you can follow up anywhere from every week to every two weeks depending on the company.
When you follow up, let them know when you plan to reach back out to them and ask if that’s okay. If they say yes, then great! If not, then give them some space while they collect the applications. Whenever a company says they will contact you for interviews and there’s no further need for you to follow up, move on to new job listings and set a follow up for a month or two down the road to check back in on the job.
Follow ups are an important part of the job search and help solidify all the hard work you do during the application process. Make sure to follow through with every application you send and you’ll have more interviews this upcoming hiring season.