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How Long Should You Wait for a Job Application Follow-Up?

You’ve applied for a job and can’t wait to find out if you’ve been hired. Is there anything you can do in the meantime? Yes, there is! In fact, it is a very important step that you should do while you wait – following up on your job application

Below, we’ll examine why should follow up on your job application, how long you should wait, and how to do it.

Check out this article for expert opinions on when and how to follow up on a job application.

Why Follow Up on Your Job Application?

One of the most important reasons you should follow up on your application is that accidents happen. A computer glitch, an email spam folder, a typo, human error, or a slow postal mail system could result in your application not getting to its destination. When you inquire, this can be discovered and remedied.

Second, following up shows your enthusiasm – it confirms that you really want the job. It also brings your name front and center, possibly giving you a leg up against the competition.

Another reason is simply this – human resources managers expect you to. And when you’re seeking a job, you want to give the hiring managers what they expect whenever possible.

In fact, according to one study, 100 percent of 300 Canadian human resource managers surveyed agreed that job seekers should follow up on their applications. None replied that they shouldn’t follow up.

When to Follow Up on Your Job Application

How long should you wait before following up on your job application? You might be tempted to ask the same day, the next day, every day – but don’t do that.

Your hiring manager will need time to go over your application. After all, they may have hundreds of applications to sort through, in addition to their other duties.

In the survey cited above, 43 percent of HR managers agreed that job applicants should wait “one [week] to less than two weeks” before inquiring. Another 30 percent answered, “two [weeks] to less than three weeks.” That puts the sweet spot for following up at just over one week.

The takeaway? Wait at least a week before inquiring about your application. But, what if you don’t get a response? Don’t blow up the hiring manager’s voicemail or inbox with repeated attempts. That can be annoying or make you look desperate; it could hurt your chances of getting the job.

Instead, wait one week before trying to contact them again. After all, the average hiring process takes about 39 days, according to Jobvite.

What if you still don’t get a reply? Sadly, most job applicants never hear back from companies they’ve applied to. If your second inquiry returns no results, it may be time to move on and focus your attention on other applications.

When Not to Follow Up

Are there occasions when you should not follow up on your job application? Yes. As already mentioned, don’t keep bugging a company that refuses to reply. Additionally, some job listings specifically say that the company does not want to be contacted. Others will give a date or a span of time in which they will get back to applicants if selected.

How to Follow Up on Your Job Application

So, you’re in the sweet spot of one to three weeks. What should you say? What means of contact is best?

Nearly half of HR managers prefer contact via email; phone calls are a close second. Whichever method you choose, your inquiry should follow this format:

  1. Greet/ask for the hiring manager by name.
  2. State that you recently submitted an application, using the full position title.
  3. Ask for information on their decision-making timeline.
  4. Briefly state your enthusiasm for the position.
  5. State that for their convenience, you’ve attached your resume and cover letter (email only).
  6. Ask if there are any other details you can provide.
  7. Thank them for their time and consideration.

Let’s look at an example, shall we?

Subject: Following up on job application for Customer Service Representative

Dear Mr. Smith,

I submitted my application for the Customer Service Representative opening one week ago. I was hoping you could provide information on your decision-making timeline.

I am very excited for the chance to join the Outfitters Clothing Store team, putting to use my background in retail customer service. I think I’ll be a great asset to your Anywhere City team.

For your convenience, I have attached my cover letter and resume. Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

janedoe@gmail.com

555.555.5555

This brief email provides all the necessary details. It reflects professionally on the sender, and, with a little luck, it will help her land the job.

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