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How to follow up after a Job Interview

One of the easiest ways to stand out in a job search is to follow-up and showcase the depth of your interest and area of expertise. Many people overlook this step after receiving an automated “Thank you for applying. Don’t call us, we will call you” e-mail less than five minutes after they’ve applied for a job. Today, we’re going to show you why this is a mistake and how to fix it after you’ve initially applied for a job. (In a later post, we will tell you how to follow up after an interview.)

Why Not Following Up is a Mistake

While it may not always appear this way, most organizations are as focused and interested in hiring the right candidate as you are in finding the right company to work for. In an era when most resume reviews are done in 15 seconds or less, your follow-up can make you memorable and move your resume straight to the top of the application pile to review- especially if you’ve applied over a week after the job was posted. (Our advice on this? The early bird gets the job.)

Bottom Line: Following up after you’ve applied demonstrates interest, commitment, and initiative — all criteria employers like to see when they hire.

How and When to Follow Up

There’s nothing worse than cold calling a potential employer — only to find that the job you applied for has been filled. Therefore, the first step in the follow-up process is to make sure the job is still available. Fortunately, there are two easy ways to do this:

  1. If you have a free StartWire account,  you can track your job in StartWire– and get an automatic update on your application status via text or email. (This information is available for positions listed at over 7,000 organizations.)
  2. Check the job listing you initially saw on the organization’s website. If the position is gone, it’s quite possible it has been filled.

After you’ve verified that the job is still available, isolate and identify your goal for the follow-up. What do you want your potential recruiter or hiring manager to know about you? Ideally, you want to convey your expertise and fit for the job — as well as demonstrate your continued interest in the job.

To follow-up, choose the medium that suits you best.

Are you a natural on the phone? Call the potential organization after hours and use the organization’s automated directory to land in the right voice mailbox. Record a message that doesn’t just say the job you applied for, but that also gives a ten word overview of your past experience that fits the job. “Hi, this is Ivanna Job. I’m calling to follow-up on my October 5 application for the Green Belt Six Sigma Project Manager. I can offer you a Black Belt in Six Sigma and I live not five miles from your facility. I remain interested in the job and can be reached at ____________.”

Are you great with research and words? Write a follow-up and email the recruiting contact or likely hiring manager. Once you’ve identified the right person to contact, you can google *@organization.com to find out how the organization assigns names to people. For example, if you are applying for a job with John Doe at Acme Food and you know that Acme Food assigns emails with a first initial and last name — you can guess that Mr. Springfield’s address is jdoe@acmefood.com

Just as in the above example, your follow-up should include a very brief mention of how you are qualified for the job. Extra credit for congratulating the organization on a recent news mention. (Example: Congratulations on your first-place finish for The Candidate Experience Awards.)

Regardless of how you follow-up, we recommend doing it within two weeks of your application date — and making sure it’s perfect. If in doubt on the phone message, hit the # message and re-record until you are satisfied. If you are writing, use formal language (no text shorthand) — and have a friend proofread it after you hit spell check! Spell one thing wrong in an e-mail and you may knock yourself out of the applicant pool if you’ve applied to work under a Spelling Bee champion.

Remember that oft-quoted Woody Allen quip, “70% of success in life is showing up?” That doesn’t work in the job search process. You need to stand out as a professional. Follow these simple steps and you will!



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