When Should You Follow Up After Submitting a Job Application?

Job ApplicationWondering when you should follow up after you’ve submitted an application for employment?  In today’s job market you don’t always know who will be getting your resume and cover letter; in fact, in very rare circumstances you’ll have the HR manager’s e-mail address or contact information.  If this is the case, should you follow up—and if so, when?

I will forewarn you of two things.  First, I’m writing this based on ten years of experience as a recruiter and HR manager—the person on the other side of the desk.  And second, you’re probably not going to like my advice.


Don’t waste your time …

What’s that, you say?!  Don’t follow up after submitting an application?!  If you’re one of those job seekers who calls people incessantly, hounding them about the “status of your application”, you’re annoying the hiring manager and wasting his or her time.  What you are NOT doing is positioning yourself as a top candidate for the opening.

Let me be very clear here:  A hiring manager will likely receive hundreds of applications for each opening.  If each one of those people called, e-mailed, or otherwise contacted that hiring manager, the person in charge of hiring would have no time left to actually FIND the qualified candidate.  In fact, she’d spend all her time fielding calls and answering e-mails from interested applicants.  I’m sure you can imagine how much time it would require to follow up with every single applicant.  The hiring manager’s role is to fill the vacancy with the most qualified person for the position.  If your resume demonstrates that you are qualified, you won’t have to follow up with the employer; they will contact you.


Use your job search time in more meaningful and effective ways.  Instead of following up on every application, use your time to track your job search applications versus your resume response rate.  Tracking these statistics will give you an overall picture of how many applications you’re submitting versus how many call-backs you are receiving.  And this information is priceless.  It can tell you two things: first, it will tell you if your resume is effective in securing call-backs; and second, whether you are applying for the right types of positions with your resume.

One last tip: only invest your time in following up after an actual interview.


Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.

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