Whether by email or phone, or even good old-fashioned snail mail, it’s crucial that you follow up at every stage of the job hunt if you want to impress hiring managers. Keep reading to learn about the three ways to effectively follow up on your job search.
Table of Contents
- The 3 Primary Types of Follow Ups
- What Is a Follow-Up Letter or Email
- Why Is It Important To Follow Up?
- Five Useful Tips on How to Follow Up
1. The 3 Primary Types of Follow Ups
There are three scenarios when you should follow up on a job application.
- After an application that received no response
- Following an interview
- When you need to reject a job offer
The Thank-You Letter
When to send: within 24 hours
This is becoming a standard practice for job seekers. Ensure that you send a thank you letter or email within 24 hours of an interview—waiting any longer than this makes your thank you ring hollow. Moreover, employers may want to make a fast decision, so you need to keep your name on their radar.
The Follow-Up Letter
When to send: within 2 weeks
If it’s been a week since you sent an application and you’ve yet to hear back, consider sending a follow-up letter or email. A friendly reminder can’t hurt, and a little assertiveness is never a bad thing. You should avoid obvious pestering, but asking for a response might help get you on a hiring manager’s priority list.
Declining a Job Offer
When to send: when an offer is made
Some lucky job seekers find themselves in the enviable position of receiving multiple job offers.
Of course, pick the best option for you, but be smart and don’t burn bridges with companies you turn down. Instead, write a letter declining the job offer that expresses your gratitude for the opportunity, and that you regret to inform them you’ve landed a position elsewhere.
Maintaining a good relationship with these companies and their hiring managers, especially if your industry is small, will put you in a better position should your paths ever cross again.
2. What Is a Follow-Up Email or Letter?
A good follow up combines a reminder, a thank you, and a summary of why you’re the right fit for the position.
Think of it like this: a hiring manager must sift through hundreds of applicants, all of whom are trying to “stand out.”
Even if you’ve followed our how to write a resume guide, you might be competing with someone else who has as well.
So, how do you get a potential employer to look at your application? Keep in touch.
“OK,” you say, “they looked and now they called me in for an interview. It went well.” And that’s great, but you aren’t done yet.
Again, even if you gave a great interview, maybe it wasn’t perfect. Maybe you gave too short an answer during the interview, and afterward, realize you could have said more.
More importantly, remember that a hiring manager conducts at least a handful of interviews for any given position, and other applicants might have also interviewed well. Your follow-up email or letter is the final chance you have to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
3. Why Is It Important to Follow Up?
So, why should you stay in touch with a hiring manager?
Hiring Managers Like It
75% of hiring managers genuinely appreciate receiving some form of thanks from a candidate following an interview. It shows you respect their time and energy.
It Shows You Go the Extra Mile
Following up shows dedication to the position. It’s the last step, yet some people don’t even consider it necessary. Reaching out reveals a little extra bit of effort on your part, and there’s a huge difference between 99% and 100%.
People Need Reminders
As a hiring manager, sometimes I see a resume that looks fine, but I may forget about it as new applications roll in. But I am much more likely to check a resume, and even remember it, if I receive a follow-up email.
It Leaves a Distinct Impression
Again, remember that an employer might get hundreds of resumes and conduct a dozen or more interviews. An email, letter, or card gives one more point of contact to help you stand out in their minds.
4. Five Useful Tips on How to Follow Up
Finally, follow these tips to make your final pitch a quality one.
Stand Out (But Don’t Be Desperate)
The goal is to stand out, but for the right reasons. You certainly do not want to appear desperate – hoping a hiring manager takes mercy on you (remember, they owe you nothing). Be grateful and express interest again in the position, but avoid coming across as a brown noser.
Reiterating your gratitude for their time is crucial, but you can also use your follow-up as an opportunity to remind the hiring manager how great a fit you’d be for the job.
Furthermore, if you need to expand on something, add information, or correct something you said, now is the time to do so. Address those parts of the interview where you feel you could have responded more competently.
Remember, specificity is important—don’t just say “hi”; tell them why you’re getting in touch. Be confident. “Just checking in” sounds like you’re waffling, and it’s cliched corporate-speak. You aren’t “just checking in,” you’re reminding them why they need you.
Be sure to thank everyone who interviewed you, not just the hiring manager.
Also, make sure you tailor your message to the interviewer. Using a template is fine, but you need to personalize the message and make it relevant to the specific hiring managers you’ve spoken to.
Follow Up Aggressively
Be aggressive. Don’t wait 3 months if you get no response. Don’t act like you’re bothering them. Pestering a potential interviewer isn’t a good idea, but calling or sending an email a week or a few days after you sent an application isn’t pestering, it’s being professionally assertive.
Furthermore, being timely is critical. If you thank an interviewer several days after the interview, it’s too late. Send your email or note fast.
Add Value to Your Response
Add value to the response as well. Did you discuss industry information? Send an article link.
Do you have some advice about something? Include it in your follow-up email or letter (be careful not to overstep your bounds or sound self-aggrandizing, however).
Did you discuss industry information? Send an article link.
By making your follow up more than just a “thank you,” you’re showing that you’re not just nice – you’re useful, too.
Don’t Be Careless
Finally, don’t write a follow-up email on your smartphone. You’re more prone to make and miss mistakes, so sit down at a computer and give it your full attention.
Additionally, keep your email or letter’s tone professional, even if you’re trying to be personable. Don’t include emojis, inappropriate jokes, or other similar things. Even if it’s cleverly done or humorous, it looks tacky.
Finally, and this should be obvious, pay attention to word choice. Avoid canned and cliche phrases or patronizing insider lingo.
Don’t Put It Off! Now’s The Time to Follow Up
Now you’ve read through our tips and know how to follow up, it’s time to prove to hiring managers that you can go the distance.
Just returned from a job interview? Check out our collection of after interview thank-you letters. Be sure to send yours out within 24 hours!
If you haven’t heard back from a job application, we have a guide on how to follow up after a job application.
And if you’re in the enviable position of being able to decline one job offer for another, read our guide on how to decline a job offer.