End your waiting blues with a polite follow-up message

You've sent off an application for your perfect job, and look forward to hearing back from the company. The wait can seem unbearable and never-ending, especially if you're genuinely excited about the opportunity. But rather than keeping yourself in torment, here are some proactive steps for following up on your job application.

Why you should follow up on a job application

The itch to write a follow-up email after getting no response on your job application is normal. In fact, following up is an essential part of the job search process. 

A well-thought-out follow-up can boost your chance of being invited for an interview. It also brings your candidacy to the hiring manager's attention, giving them another chance to evaluate your application and see your genuine interest in the position. 

What's more, you can set your mind at rest and move on if the outcome is the dreaded "thanks, but no thanks."

How to properly follow up on a job application

You can follow up after applying for a job in four simple steps:

1. Choose the right time

Remember: companies receive hundreds of job applications daily and need time to process them. In fact, some organisations might only start looking at CVs once the application window has closed. 

So don't be hasty. Wait one to two weeks after sending your application before checking in. This shows that you're not particularly persistent and respect the prospective employer's time.

2. Double-check your application

Before sending a follow-up email, check your application and the submission details. This includes:

  • Confirming the submission method: Ensure that you actually submitted your CV via email or the specified online portal.

  • Checking communication channels: Monitor your inbox and spam folder for any updates from the employer, especially if their communication is primarily online.

  • Verifying completeness: Double-check that you've provided all the information required by the employer, such as a cover letter or portfolio, if applicable.

  • Reviewing application instructions: Pay attention to deadlines or any specified dates for responses in the job posting, ensuring that you adhere to them accordingly. Remember that some companies tell applicants not to follow up after applying.

3. Find the right contact

Making a successful job application follow-up (one that gets you a response) entails identifying the right person to contact. It's usually the hiring manager, but since some companies use external recruiting agencies or an internal talent acquisition team, finding the exact person isn't always straightforward. Consider checking the following:

  • Job posting: Some postings include the contact information of the hiring manager or HR representative responsible for the hiring process. If this information is provided, it's usually the best contact to reach out to.

  • LinkedIn: Search for the company's profile and look for individuals who hold relevant positions such as HR Manager, Talent Acquisition Specialist, or Hiring Manager. Pay attention to any mutual connections that could provide an introduction or insider information.

  • Company website: Explore the company's website, and look for an “About Us” or “Careers” section that may provide contact details for the hiring team or HR personnel. If you can't identify a specific contact person, you can directly enquire or leave a message via their general enquiries page or contact channels.

  • Your network: Reach out to your professional network for assistance in identifying the right contact person. This could include former colleagues, classmates, or acquaintances with connections within the company or industry. Networking events, industry conferences, and online professional groups can also be valuable sources of information.

  • Recruitment agencies: If the job posting indicates that the company is using a recruitment agency, you may need to contact the agency directly for follow-up enquiries. Look for contact information on the agency's website or reach out to them through professional networking platforms.

  • Jobs boards and recruitment platforms: If you found the job opportunity through a third-party job board or recruitment platform, such as Indeed or Glassdoor, check the listing for any provided contact information. Some platforms may offer direct messaging or contact options to communicate with the employer or recruiter.

4. Craft and send a polite email

If you want to know if there's an update regarding your application, you must write a short and sweet follow-up email that balances expressing your interest and respecting the hiring manager's time. 

The follow-up message simply needs to reiterate your interest in the position, highlight your skills, thank the hiring manager for their consideration, and show you're willing to answer any further questions.

How to write a follow-up email to a job application

Your follow-up email must be personalised, concise, polite, and professional. Remember that a hiring manager doesn't have much time, and you want to create a great first impression, so what you say in your email counts. 

Here's how to approach writing the message:

  • Use a clear subject line: This should be concise and indicate the purpose of your email. We recommend including the position title or job description reference number.
  • Use a polite greeting: Address the recipient by name and use a professional greeting, such as “I hope you are well.”
  • Express your interest: Reiterate your genuine interest in the position and the company. Be specific about what attracts you.
  • Remind the recipient of your application timing: Remind the recipient when you applied for the job to help them locate your application and obtain the context of your follow-up message.

  • Request an update: Enquire about the status of your application and when you can expect to hear back.

  • Offer additional information: Offer to provide further information to support your application, such as a portfolio.

  • Express appreciation: Conclude by thanking the recipient for their time and consideration. Reaffirm your enthusiasm and readiness to discuss your candidacy further.

  • Provide contact details: Include your phone number, email address, and availability for a call (optional) in your email signature.

Job application follow-up email example / template

Below is a simple message to use as inspiration when you need to follow up via email on your job application. Feel free to customise the texts in brackets for your own follow-up letter:

To: allenhiringmanager@email.com

From: joanjobseeker@email.com

Subject: Follow-up on [Executive Assistant] application - [Reference #12345]

To Allen,

I hope you're doing well.

I'm reaching out to express my continued interest in the [Executive Assistant] role at [Fictional Company]. Having applied for the position on [8 March 2024] via [LinkedIn], I'm eager to enquire about the hiring status for this role, and check if there's any other information that you might need from me. 

I understand that you may receive numerous applications, and I want to thank you for your time and attention. I'm enthusiastic about the possibility of joining your company, and I look forward to discussing how my skills and experience in [executive support and communications] align with the needs of your team.

Kind regards,

[Joan Smith]

Phone: [07123 456 789]

Email: [joanjobseeker@email.com]

Availability for a call: [Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm]

Tips for writing a standout follow-up email

Remember the following when writing your follow-up email for your job application:

  • Address the recipient by name and include specific details about the company and position

  • Convey genuine enthusiasm for the opportunity

  • Briefly remind the recipient of the relevant skills and achievements that make you a strong candidate

  • Politely ask for clarification on the next steps

  • Offer to provide additional information to support your application

  • Keep your email brief and to the point

  • Thoroughly proofread your email

  • If you don't receive a response, consider sending another after a reasonable period of time.

An impressive CV should get you an interview invitation in no time. Get expert feedback on yours now with our free CV review.

This article was originally written by Jen David and has been updated by Laura Slingo.

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