How to Follow Up on a Job Application

Written by Coursera • Updated on

These helpful pointers can help you know when and how to follow up on a job application in person or via email.

[Featured Image] Woman makes a phone call to follow up on her job application.

Applying for a new position is exciting, but waiting to hear back from your potential employer can be challenging. If it’s been two weeks since you submitted your application and you haven’t heard back, consider following up. Use these tips to check in with your potential employer positively and respectfully.  

Give it time.  

There may be a lot more going on behind the scenes than simply deciding who to hire. Keep in mind that companies and hiring managers balance many moving parts during the hiring process. It may be tempting to reach out sooner, but waiting at least two weeks to follow up ensures they'll have plenty of time to read and respond to your application.

Before initiating contact, it’s a good idea to reread the job posting. Some companies will request that you do not follow up. If they don’t mention anything about it, feel free to reach out.

Choose the best method.

There are multiple ways to follow up after submitting your application. In a world where the application process relies heavily on technology, email is often the most popular option. However, picking up the phone or visiting the office are acceptable in most cases.

Follow-up email

When writing your follow-up email, compose a clear subject line and keep your email short. Politely greet the contact by name, express how you will be a good fit for the company, ask any critical questions, and sign off by thanking them for their time.

This method of communication gives the hiring manager you’re reaching out to the ability to respond at a time most convenient for them. It’s also a way to document your conversation. Attach your resume to encourage the hiring manager to review your skills and qualifications once more. 

Read more: How to Write an Interview Follow-Up Email: Guide and Samples

Follow-up phone call

Another option is to make a phone call. Have your discussion points ready before calling so you can have a quick, productive conversation. Thank the hiring manager for their time before wrapping up the call. Should you choose to make a phone call, be mindful of the company's business hours and keep all calls before 4:00 p.m. in the company’s time zone.

Follow up in person

You can also follow up in person if the job you’re applying to is local. To follow up with your application in person, ask to see the hiring manager. If they’re unavailable at the time, ask when they might be available and return then. Try to keep it casual and be understanding of busy schedules.

There are benefits to an in-person check-in when done respectfully. Showing up in person can illustrate how committed you are to your job search and exemplifies how diligent you’ll be as an employee. It’s also a great way to give your digital application a face and a name. 

A manager could ask to interview you on the spot, so be prepared. Dress to impress, bring a notebook, pen, and copies of your resume and cover letter. You’ve got this! 

Contact the hiring manager.

To follow up with a hiring manager, you’ll need to locate their current contact information. Check to see who initially posted the job and find them on a site such as LinkedIn. Their contact information may be listed there. If not, you’ll still be able to send them a message through the platform. Make sure your own LinkedIn profile is up to date, as the hiring manager will likely peruse your page.

The company website may feature team members and their contact information, so consider checking there. Another option is to call the company directly and ask for the hiring manager’s contact information. 

Before contacting a hiring manager, it’s wise to take advantage of this time and double-check that you’ve followed all steps listed in the job posting and submit anything you might be missing. Employers appreciate a detail-oriented applicant. This is an opportunity to show them how well you pay attention to detail and a way to help the hiring process go smoothly. 

No matter how you reach out, it’s important to be mindful of the manager’s work-life balance by only doing so during business hours. Emails are acceptable to send at any time; Just remember to be cordial and professional.

Keep it short and sweet.  

Hiring managers are usually in communication with many people and often multiple candidates. Keeping correspondence brief shows that you respect their time. Be friendly, but try to sidestep delving into personal stories and experiences. Limiting the conversation to a professional discussion will serve both parties well. 

Tip: Make a list of talking points

No matter your contact method, keep a shortlist of discussion points to guide your conversation. This tip is especially helpful if you can get a little nervous in these situations. There’s no shame in keeping a little script or list of talking points in your back pocket.

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Offer clarification 

An essential part of following up with your job application is asking your recruiter if they have any questions for you. Be ready to expand on any parts of your resume. This is an opportunity to shine even more light on your qualifications and skills. If they don’t have questions of their own, there’s no harm in mentioning a few points you’d like to leave as a parting note of mention.

Highlight your eligibility and interest.  

Every communication with the hiring manager is an opportunity to advocate for your interest in the desired role. It’s essential to be informed about the company, provide a portfolio or demonstration of your skills, and connect your experience with the job description. Following up can be a great way to highlight your eligibility and interest in the job.

Following up shows you’re genuinely interested in the job and can help move the process along. Use a follow-up as a chance to ask about scheduling an interview, but only ask if the timing feels right.

Express gratitude. 

Hiring managers work hard and maintain a fast pace. Hiring managers are not only seeking the most qualified candidate; they’re looking for applicants that are pleasant to interact with and are enthusiastic about the job. It’s always good to conclude your emails to the hiring manager with gratitude.

Don’t discount the importance of those workplace skills like effective communication and patience. This is your time to put those skills on display in real-time. 

A note of thanks could make the hiring manager's day and make a strong positive impression. Your sincerity and enthusiasm toward the company may even bump your application to the top of the pile.

Stand out by following up

Most job seekers know to follow up after an interview, but try to remember that you also have the opportunity to follow up after submitting an application. It may seem daunting to be the first party to make contact, but standing out among the competition early on will work to your advantage.

Need some help writing professional emails or letters during the hiring process? Consider taking a course like Business Writing from the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera. Get access to this and more than 7,000 other courses, guided projects, specializations, and professional certificates Coursera Plus.  

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