How to Follow up an Application

‘You can reach them by railway’…

Ok, so that’s not strictly true. However, although not all the words to Oleta Adams’* 1990 hit are applicable when it comes to following up after an application, the sentiment certainly rings true.

And with 82% of recruiters indicating that it reflects well on a candidate when they get back in touch, one thing is clear: it doesn’t matter how you follow-up, just follow-up if you can (hint: you definitely can).

Here are four ways to get in touch after your application:

1. Via email

The number one preferred choice of communication for recruiters comes in the form of email.

In fact, the majority of hiring managers we asked indicated in a recent survey that this is the best way for candidates to follow up after an application. 

Put a few short sentences together thanking them for their time in reading your application, and ask directly if there are any questions they have regarding your CV or credentials for the job.

Although not all recruiters will get back to you, sending a follow-up email demonstrates your enthusiasm and desire for the position, and could just be the difference between you and a candidate with similar credentials.

Just make sure to send it from a professional-sounding address. A message with the subject line ‘call me back’, is unlikely to be overly well-received.

2. Via phone

Ah, the direct approach.

While it may initially seem intrusive to phone an employer for feedback, in certain industries it can be an excellent way to demonstrate your initiative.

For sales or PR positions, for example, hiring managers often welcome phone calls from candidates because it shows you have no fear when it comes to calling clients.

It can be as easy as asking whether they’ve received your application, and enquiring as to when they’re looking to make their decision. If you’ve been unsuccessful, ask for feedback and thank them for their time.

And if they haven’t made their decision yet? You’ve just ensured that your CV is instantly more memorable.

3. Via social networks

If you have the name of the recruiter, or you’ve spoken with them directly, it’s perfectly acceptable to consider adding them to your social networks.

Not only is it an excellent way to keep in touch, it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate the size of your network and your position within the industry.

If you have a number of sector-specific contacts within easy access, you might start to see recruiters being more receptive when it comes to your CV.

Just be careful when choosing your method of communication. Adding them on LinkedIn is fine. Following them on Instagram may not be…

4. Via letter  

It may seem old-fashioned, but putting a personal touch on your application is a great way to demonstrate your dedication.

All you need are a few (possibly hand-written) short lines to reiterate why you’re the right person for the role, and a polite thank you for their kind consideration. It’s as simple as that.

If you work in a creative discipline, you could also use this opportunity to show off your skills. Sketches, samples or even sending a slick-looking business card across could all be cute ways to show you really care about your career.

Final thoughts

Ok, so now you’ve decided on the how, it’s time to take care of the when.

In fact, getting the timing right can be just as important as the method you choose to take. If a number of people are applying for the same role, for example, the hiring manager undoubtedly deserves a couple of weeks to adequately analyse all of the applicants.

However, if you’re hammering the phones after not hearing back for just a few days, you can rightly expect them to be perturbed. Patience, rather than persistence, will often win the race.

Finally, not hearing back after an application can be tough-to-take, and is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating parts of the jobseeking process. However, taking the time out to contact a recruiter directly could be a complete game-changer, and one which you should always consider.

So don’t wait for them to get in touch. After all, what do you have to lose?

*Originally by Brenda Russell. Obviously. 

First published by Reed, where you can get great career advice on


Being Thankful can be Good for you

One of the things I like about the field of Positive Psychology is the research showing that we can determine our moods, responses and emotions more than I thought was possible.

This infographic summarises the physical and psychological benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. As a person interested in spirituality, primarily Christian Spirituality, I'm also fascinated that this type of research confirms many aspects of spiritual & biblical teaching ... to develop an attitude of gratitude being one such example.



Happiness or Satisfaction ... that is the question?

I've been reading a lot about a type of therapy/coaching called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Like a lot of these ideas and theories, there is a lot to it but my summary of it is that we focus on the long-term nature of Happiness, rather than the short-term acceptance of satisfaction. So, a question could be ... do you want to be happy (long term achievement of value-driven goals) or do you want to be satisfied? (A short-term satisfaction coming from the relief of uncomfortable emotions and thoughts, perhaps by replacing them with equally short-term positive emotions and thoughts)

A website and Careers orientated blog that I've come across is by Rob Archer, the self-styled 'Career Psychologist.' He has a great little presentation (below) about how this concept of 'experiential avoidance'  works out in relation to decision-making and I think it is so true and very well presented.

Hidden Gems and Dark Kingdoms

DAVID DRAKE, the psychologist, coach and writer on Narrative Coaching, talks about narrative coaching often discovering 'hidden gems' in a person's life, really interesting things about us, or connections that can bring a greater clarity about who we are, can remain hidden under the day-to-day activities we get involved with. But, when we take time to reflect, we can find them and using story it might be possible to discover or re-discover some of these 'gems' because of the way that narrative can help us to think outside of the box.

An illustration from a session with a client shows this well. I had given my client an exercise to think of their life as a film. They would write the script, produce the film in a genre of their choice and, as the Director, also choose which scenes to show and how they would be filmed.

My client created a film of their life in the style of Pan's Labrynth ( - a Spanish film with a small girl as the central character who is able to see supernatural creatures that influence the real world in a way that others do not. My client talked about their career and life in these terms bringing ogres, gremlins and ghosts into scenes causing my client to make mistakes at work, stay up late drinking too much and characters in their life and career so far began to take on a figurative form such as witches, wizards and other spectral forms.

In thinking about their life in this way it helped them to articulate the core issues that went on in certain difficult workplace relationships and to see things as they were for the first time. For example, when they realised that two difficult relationships were such because these were two witches in different dark kingdoms battling for my client's devotion and using them as a pawn in their kingdom building it helped them to see why certain situations had not worked well. It meant that it wasn't because my client was bad at their job or incompetent or a failure, but because the witches had created a no-win situation. This then had a free-ing affect on my client and they saw a move away from that organisation as an escape from these two wicked witches.

When I asked them how they felt now, they responded, ' it's like I have been under a spell but now I see things as they really were. Now that I am not in the dark kingdom ruled by the witches I can begin to see myself in a new light with growing confidence in my abilities.'

Call of the Midwife

 Is a vocational career still relevent?

Is a vocational career still relevent?

The opening scene of the BBC TV Drama series, ‘Call the Midwife’ on Sunday 2 March 2014 has Jenny Lee* returning to the midwifery mix of young women and nuns at the Nonnatus House convent in the East End of London after her time away grieving for her dead fiancé.

The voice-over narrates as if it is her thoughts and she announces that she has ‘returned to the work that defines her’. In Latin, ‘Operari, ut set’ … work that defines. Is this the same as Vocatio, the call that a Roman slave would hear from his master to which they had no choice but to respond from which we get the term ‘vocation’, often applied to the call to religious orders or service. The call from God that jenny Lee’s holy sister colleagues would have been familiar with.

I think the concept of a calling, something to which we MUST respond is not a popular idea today. However, I think ‘work that defines’ finds a warm welcome as it taps into the idea of being true to oneself or a life that is integrated and defined by who we are. I used to have a Corporate Communications Business called ‘2of3 Design & Business Development’ and the strapline was ‘it’s about WHO you are, not just WHAT you do.’ My USP (unique selling proposition) was that I would coach company leaders and owners through a process that got them to understand WHY they did business as well as WHAT they wanted to do through their businesses. This was a fulfilling process for most of the business owners I worked with because it tapped into what ‘defined’ them as people and their motivation for what they did.

I did quite a bit of work for church-connected or faith-led charities and the concept of Vocatio or vocation was very high. So, maybe the idea of having a calling to do something is connected with there being an external caller, to whom we have no choice but to respond? Like the slave who would refuse at pain of death. If the calling comes from within, then maybe the idea of vocatio doesn’t sit well with us, because we don’t like the idea of people … or a divine being even … telling us what we should do. It takes away our sense of control over our destiny … our choice to seek and find our operari, ut set … our work that defines us.

What do you think?

Dream Job, or Living in a Nightmare?

Do you look forward to going to work on a Monday morning, or do you dread the weekend coming to an end?

It may surprise you to read that Career Coaches, like myself, believe that there is no such thing as a perfect job. However, experience of working with many clients leads us to the conclusion that if your work is a 70% good fit for you then you are likely to be smiling on your commute, and the lower that percentage becomes, the more your smile will turn into a frown.

Taking a bearing on your life and work

Making some time to take a bearing on your current situation can pay dividends. It may sometimes mean that you need to move on to a different career, but often it will result in a re-think, along with the people you work with or for, leading to you changing a few things in your current situation to get that percentage up to nearer the 70% mark.

So, perhaps you are in Heaven rather than Hell after all and you hadn’t realised it.

Take some time to take a bearing on your life and work and maybe seeking an interpretation from someone who can help you read it  might also be a good idea?

Back to the Books

I was mixing it with students at the University of East London Freshers Fair today. Rattled along the DLR to Cyprus Station in the East End to the UEL Docklands Campus for my Induction Day. New pencil case, new bag and new people to get to know.


I'm starting a Post Graduate Diploma in Career Coaching. I am excited about this ... some of the leading influencers in Coaching Psychology teach at UEL and, as my time doing an MA at Oxford Brookes, I feel privileged to be in the same room.

Here's to learning and developing ... and another stint of student discounts ... honestly ... at my age?!