How to Follow Up on a Job Application

Written by Coursera • Updated on

These pointers can help you decide when and how to follow up on a job application.

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

When you're searching for a job, it can be exciting to come across a listing that seems like the perfect fit, 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.

If you want to follow up on an application after passing some initial phases of the hiring process, check out these guides for following up with a recruiter or writing an interview follow-up email.

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Wait two weeks.  

Although you may be eager to get your dream job, hiring managers typically need some time to receive and assess job applications before moving into the interview process. Companies and hiring managers balance many moving parts during the hiring process.

Generally, experts recommend waiting about two weeks before following up with potential employers. It may be tempting to reach out sooner, but waiting at least two weeks to follow up gives potential employers 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.

Figure out who the hiring manager is.

When following up on a job application, it's important to reach out to the right person. Most often, you'll want to locate the hiring manager. The hiring manager is the person responsible for filling the open position.

To find the hiring manager, check to see who initially posted the job and find them on a site such as LinkedIn. Their direct email address may be listed there, or you may be able to find their contact details on the company's website. 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.

Before contacting a hiring manager, it’s wise to 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 help the hiring process go smoothly. 

Learn more: How to Reach Out to a Recruiter on LinkedIn

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Choose the best outreach method.

There are several ways to follow up after submitting your application. In a world where the application process relies heavily on technology, recruiters and hiring managers usually prefer email follow-ups. However, picking up the phone or visiting the office may also be acceptable.

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.

Follow-up email

Email is often the best way to follow up on a job application. Recruiters and hiring managers typically prefer email communications. 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.

When writing your follow-up email, compose a clear subject line and keep your message 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. Remember to attach your resume to encourage the hiring manager to review your skills and qualifications once more.

Sample follow-up email

Subject: Following up: [Job title] application

Hello [Hiring manager],

I submitted an application for the [job title] position on [date] and am wondering if you can share any details about your decision timeline.

I am excited about the opportunity to join your team and apply my [key skills] to fulfill your [key needs]. I'm particularly eager to learn more about [what attracts you to this company and how you hope to grow].

Please let me know if there are any additional materials I can send to enhance my candidacy. Otherwise, I will look forward to speaking with you soon.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best,

[Your name]

[Your contact information]

Follow-up phone call

Another option is to follow up by phone. Phone calls are typically less popular than emails, as unplanned calls may catch a hiring manager off guard. They may not have your application readily available, can forget key details of your call when they refer to your application later, or it may simply be a bad time for them.

Still, if you do choose to call, have your discussion points ready so you can have a quick, productive conversation. Thank the hiring manager for their time before wrapping up the 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

If the job you’re applying to is local, you may choose to follow up in person. This option may not be right for a corporate setting, where employees tend to have tight schedules or can be difficult to locate on a moment's notice. However, if you're applying for a job at a small, local business where the hiring manager is generally expected to be around and available for customers, dropping in to introduce yourself and express interest may be a welcome gesture.

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.

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Job application follow-up tips

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you follow up on job applications:

1. Keep it short and sweet.  

Hiring managers are usually in communication with many people and 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. 

2. 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, demonstrate 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 and to ask about their anticipated hiring timeline.

3. Invite 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.

4. Express gratitude. 

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.

Next steps

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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