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A Few Tips For Following Up On Job Applications

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Oct. 22 2015, Published 3:30 a.m. ET

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You applied to a job… and now there is radio silence. Applying to a job online can feel like a black hole where you almost never hear back. Here are a few tips for following up throughout different stages of the application process.

After You Submit Your Application: If you applied online you can, and should, follow up. A lot of companies use Applicant Tracking Systems and it is possible that your resume didn’t get to a real person because it didn’t include the specified keywords and phrases. Find the contact information for the HR person and send them an email telling them you applied. Attach your resume and cover letter. If you know someone who works at the company, send them a quick email to let them know that you applied. Hopefully they will put in a good word with HR or, at least, make sure your resume gets seen by a real person.

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Right After You Have an Interview: The first step is to send a thank you note! I’ve heard a lot of people debate whether to write a handwritten thank you note or send an email. I think that you should send both. Write a thank you email and send a handwritten thank you note. The handwritten thank you note may arrive after they’ve made the decision so be sure to send an email right away so that they know you followed up and are interested in the position. If you feel awkward writing the handwritten note as well just say something like, “I just wanted to follow up with a handwritten note…” Your thank you note should accomplish a few things. You should thank them for their time, mention something you learned in the interview, reiterate your interest in the company and why you’d be a good fit, and mention that you are happy to answer any further questions or provide more materials.

The Waiting Game: You should follow up again. It shows that you are interested and passionate about the opportunity but be patient. I know that it is really stressful and frustrating to not hear back from a position right away. You are interested in the opportunity and want the job! Don’t assume that you didn’t get the job because you haven’t heard back right away. There are so many factors that go into the decision making process. Hopefully one of your questions during the interview was asking about the next steps and the timeline for the hiring process. Don’t follow up until the time that the interviewer said it would be appropriate to follow up, but follow up with the time comes. Write them a quick email to thank them again for their time, reiterate your interest in the company, then ask about the next steps of the interview process.

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Other Times to Follow Up: Follow up if something in your application has changed, if something exciting has happened for the company, or if you’ve received another job offer. An example of something in your application changing might be getting your transcript and finding out you made Phi Beta Kappa or graduated summa cum laude. You can also follow up if something exciting has happened for the company. For example, when I was interviewing for Likeable, I saw that they were awarded #6 on Crain New York Business’ Best Places to Work list so I emailed the HR person to say congratulations. If you’ve received another job offer, but you’d prefer to work for the company you are waiting to hear back from, you can be honest and tell them. Say something along the lines of, “Since we last spoke, I received an offer from X but working at Y company is still my first choice. I wanted to check in on the hiring process and see if I could provide you with any further information.

If You Get the Job: If you get the job, follow up with anyone who helped you get it. When I write recommendations for people, I love knowing that they got the job! Some people even follow up months into the job to say thank you and it makes me so happy every time!

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