Following Up on a Job Application: How to Do it Right

job application follow up

Knowing the ins and outs of following up on a job application is an important skill. While other applicants are nervously waiting by their phones hoping to be invited to an interview, you can take steps to swing things in your favor.

Whether this is your first job search or you’ve been in this situation many times before, the job application process is predictable. You find the perfect job posting, and then send off your resume and a painstakingly crafted cover letter. But you don't have to sit and wait while the tension mounts.

Here are six guidelines for following up after you send in your job application to make sure your potential new employer admires your determination — and doesn’t just think you're being pushy:

1. Follow instructions

If the listing explicitly states “no phone calls,” then abide by that. Working in finance and accounting requires attention to detail and the ability to follow procedures. If you ignore instructions laid out in the ad, your job application could easily be sent to the bottom of the pile. However, if the ad doesn’t rule out follow-ups or, better still, actually lists contact details, then you can and should get in touch after an appropriate length of time.

2. Follow up by timing it right

Timing is crucial when following up on a job application. Calling right away, before anyone’s had a chance to read your resume, can be counterproductive. But you don’t want to wait too long, either, or you might miss the window when the HR manager is evaluating the applications. In general, the ideal time to follow up is a week to 10 days after you’ve submitted your application.

3. Choose your method carefully

The job ad may indicate that you should contact the hiring manager by either phone or email, but if it doesn’t note a preference, just choose whichever method suits you best. Remember: If you’re following up by phone, prepare notes in advance. If you use email, carefully proofread your message before you send it. Your follow-up should be as carefully crafted as your resume and cover letter.

Also, try to use the hiring manager’s name in your correspondence or call. If the name isn’t in the job posting, use your LinkedIn connections or the organization’s website to track the information down. If all else fails, simply call the company’s reception desk and ask.

Get some guidance from a recruitment agency that specializes in finance and accounting. Our Accounting and Finance Professionals' Career Center is a good place to start.

4. Make it meaningful

Following up on a job application improves your chances of getting an interview — and possibly scoring the job — because it shows that you’re genuinely interested in the position. But it also provides you with a second chance to sell yourself. Without being pushy, steer the conversation toward your skills or attributes that will help your cause and increase interest in you. Also ask if your application lacked any information or left questions unanswered.

5. Keep a record

Make a note of each follow-up, especially when you’re applying for more than one job at a time. You don’t want to mistakenly contact an HR recruiter a second time and repeat something he or she has already heard. Write down what was said, especially if it leads to questions or a discussion. This information could prove useful and become a talking point should you make it to the interview stage.

6. Don’t go overboard

One follow-up call or email is enough for each job application. Go beyond that, and you risk coming off as annoying, desperate or both. And although a post-interview “thank you” note is a nice touch, it’s not appropriate at the application stage.

Following up on a job application allows you to start a dialogue with the hiring manager or HR recruiter. You’ll stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile. When done skillfully, a well-executed follow-up can help tip the hiring scales to your advantage.

Curious about the benefits of a temp accounting job? Take a look — and then check out our job board.

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Tags: Interviewing