How To Write A Follow-Up Email After Submitting A Job Application (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - May. 5, 2021

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You submitted a job application and are pumped about getting your dream job. What can you do now to ensure that you made a lasting impression?

Whether you are applying for your first job, changing careers, or looking for advancement, we’ll show you how to follow up like a “boss” after submitting your job application.

Why It’s Important to Follow Up After a Job Application

After you submit your application for a job it’s hard to sit back and wait. You’re refreshing your inbox constantly looking for a response.

Here are some reasons why you should follow up:

  1. It will calm you down. Sitting around waiting on pins and needles for them to get back to you can drive you nuts. It feels great to be proactive and touch base with the employer.

  2. Follow up shows your genuine interest and excitement for the position. Companies don’t just want qualified candidates. They want new employees who are passionate and motivated.

  3. Showcase your value. Following up gives you another chance to show how your qualifications and experience can add value to the company that’s above and beyond what you expressed in your application documents.

  4. You can find out when they plan on making a decision. Wouldn’t it feel great not to wonder for days on end when they will get you an update? Ask what the next steps are in the recruitment process.

Excuses Why People Don’t Follow Up

Some people stall when it comes to reaching out to the hiring managers or recruiters. Here are a few of the most common reasons people refrain from touching base.

  • I don’t know what to say. I am worried I will fumble my words and sound like an idiot.

  • I don’t want to seem like a stalker. If they think I am too over eager they won’t hire me.

  • I am mass applying for jobs online and don’t have time to follow up.

  • I will wait. They will contact me back if they are interested.

Sadly, procrastinating about follow-up will only hurt you. So get over yourself and follow up. We’ll share everything you need to say and do below.

Top Reasons Why Companies Don’t Respond After a Job Application

Feeling frustrated that you didn’t hear back from the hiring manager?

Imagine for a minute the desk of the key decision-maker. They have a massive pile of resumes from potential hires beside them. They are fielding calls from team members. They are attending Zoom meetings with the regional teams. When they are this busy and have so many priorities there’s no way that you are top of mind.

There are many reasons why human resources might not have heard back yet. Perhaps they never even got your online application. Maybe your application email went into the resume black hole in their spam box. Or maybe your resume got weeded out by an applicant tracking system because of a silly formatting mistake.

Someone else may have been hired for the job. Or hiring may have been halted with budget cuts eliminating the new position.

How to Write a Follow-Up Email After Submitting a Job Application

Not sure how to write an effective follow-up email? Here are some pointers on how to follow up with a recruiter or hiring manager.

  1. Send it between one and two weeks after applying. You want to give hiring teams enough time to sort through all the application materials they receive before sending a follow-up email. If you send a follow-up email any earlier than this, you may come across as impatient.

    Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll get any sort of useful response if you send a follow-up email too quickly after submitting your application.

    There’s one big exception to this rule. If you’ve been offered a different job, but would prefer working for the employer that you haven’t heard back from yet, you can send a follow-up email sooner than two weeks. Just let the hiring manager know the situation and that they’re your top choice to see if they can fast-track you along in the hiring process.

  2. Use email. Snail mail is too slow and calling is a bit too forward, so stick with email — it’s the preferred method of communication for recruiters and hiring managers. Email also has the benefit of staying around permanently and being easy to document.

  3. Be brief. There’s no need to write an essay — the topic of your email is fairly straightforward, and it shouldn’t take more than a few sentences to say everything you need to say.

  4. Make your subject line easy to understand. A standard subject line is just using your name and the job title you’ve applied for — [Full Name — Job Title], or some variation thereof.

  5. Mention your passion and qualifications. Try to throw in one or two lines about why you’re excited about the opportunity or why you’d make a great fit at the company. Or you can pull in a recent accomplishment from your current occupation to show that you have the skills to get results.

  6. Ask questions. If you have questions about the job or application process, you can consider asking them in your follow-up email. Of course, you shouldn’t feel compelled to ask questions if you don’t have any.

  7. Proofread. Get a second set of eyes on your email if you can. This is your first correspondence with a potential employer, so you’ll want to make sure it comes off as professionally as possible. That means no typos, grammatical errors, or spelling mistakes.

  8. Be polite. Proofread your letter one last time to make sure it sounds courteous. Avoid sounding pushy and impatient. Always thank the hiring manager or recruiter for taking the time to consider your application.

  9. Use your connections. If you have any side of insider connection at the company, lean on them at this point. See if you can get them to put in a good word and get your application to the top of the pile.

    Even if you don’t currently know anyone at the company, try reaching out to a relevant employee on LinkedIn to get some information on the job (and, more importantly, how best to market yourself as the best candidate).

How to Find the Hiring Manager

After you hit “submit” on a job application, following up can boost the odds of you being invited for a job interview. But first, you have to find the correct contact person.

  1. Check the job listing for a name or email address that obviously indicates a name (e.g., john.smith@mail.com)

  2. Check the company website to see if your contact is listed.

  3. Search for their LinkedIn profile for any contact information.

  4. Connect your network to see if someone else on LinkedIn knows the decision-maker or has a connection.

  5. The company’s front desk can likely give you the name of the hiring manager. Call and tell them the job title you were applying for and they can give you the name and contact information for the hiring manager.

  6. Should I Follow Up by Phone or Email?

    In most cases, an email is better. A phone call can seem intrusive. Sending an email ensures that the hiring manager can read it when they have time. Plus, writing an email allows you to take your time and choose the right words in your message.

    What to include in a follow-up email after an online job application:

    • Thank them for the opportunity.

    • Say that you submitted an employment application.

    • Tell them the online job search site, job board, or career site where you saw the listing.

    • Name the job title you applied for.

    • Reiterate how your experience and skills are a match for their needs.

    • Tell them how to contact you for additional information.

    Template for Follow-Up After Submitting a Job Application Email

    Subject Line: [Full Name – Job Title Application]

    Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

    I recently submitted an application for the [job title] opening on [job board website]. I understand that you’re likely reviewing countless applicants, but I was hoping to learn if you have any updates on the timeline of your decision-making process.

    I’m genuinely ecstatic about the chance to work for [company name], and believe that my experience with [highly relevant skill] would make me an ideal candidate for this role.

    I’ve attached my resume and cover letter for your convenience, but if there is any additional information I can provide to help with your decision, please feel free to reach out to me at [phone number] or [email address]. Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,
    [Full Name]

    Example Follow-Up After Submitting a Job Application Email

    Subject Line: Follow-up application for Sales Management Role – Mark Hamilton

    Dear Mr. Jones,

    I recently submitted an application for your Sales Management job opening posted on Zippia. I am checking on the status of my application because I am very excited about this role.

    I am truly confident that my experience makes me a strong candidate for this role. My dedication and proven track record in my current sales role demonstrate my ability to drive profits for your company.

    I am excited to hear back from you regarding your decision and next steps. I have attached my resume for your convenience. If there is any additional information I can provide, feel free to reach me at 555-555-5555 or mark.hamilton@gmail.com.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Hamilton

    Top Ways to Stand Out When Following Up

    1. Company fit. Articulate that you understand their company culture and the challenges they face. Reviewing their LinkedIn page and company blog provides valuable insight.

    2. Demonstrate your value. If you see on the company blog that they are working to expand into the international market, tell them about the deal you struck that drove sales in Japan by 45%.

    3. Personal touch. Try to find and share a personal connection with the hiring manager. Do some sleuthing on LinkedIn. Find what you have in common. It could be sports, yoga, keto dieting, or a favorite movie. Building relationships is important.

    Follow-Up Mistakes to Avoid

    You want to know where you stand. But obviously, there is a right and wrong way to follow up after a job application. Here are thank-you letter mistakes and how to avoid them.

    • Rambling on too much. Be short and to the point.

    • Don’t be desperate and say how badly you need this job. Big turn off.

    • Do not spam. They are busy and you don’t want to seem desperate.

    • Never connect to hiring managers on social media. Respect boundaries.

    • Do not post about the jobs you are applying for on social media. It could backfire.

    • Make sure your voicemail message is professional in case they leave a message.

    • Having typos in your follow up email. It’s unprofessional and shows no eye for detail.

    • Using a generic cookie-cutter follow up that is not customized. Personalize it.

    • Spelling the name of the decision-make incorrectly. Names are sacred. Double-check the spelling.

    • Never say anything negative about your old boss or company and why you want to leave.

    • Don’t threaten them by saying you have another offer. Pressuring them to make a decision is a turnoff. They will make a hiring decision when they are ready.

    If you feel like you are striking out, you may want to check out 12 reasons why you are not getting hired.

    What to Do When You Don’t Hear Back

    After sending your first email follow-up on a job application, you should wait about a week before trying to contact the hiring manager again. You can try sending one more email (even shorter than the first) or simply call the company to learn more about the status of the job opening.

    Be advised that if you fail to receive a response to your second follow-up, it’s best to move on. You should never delay your job search while you wait to hear back from one particular employer, even if it is your dream job.

    Finding a job is all about perseverance and consistency, so keep sending out job applications (and follow-up emails) until you’ve officially accepted a job offer.

    Final Thoughts

    Failing to follow up is like leaving money on the table. Checking back gives you a chance to say thanks. It affirms your interest. It shows your future boss why you are a great match for the position. Sending a follow-up after you apply for a job can help you land your dream job.

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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