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 fromloverboy_69@emailaddress.com 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 www.reed.co.uk