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Exactly when and how to follow up on a job application or interview

Everything you need to know about when and how to follow up on a job application or interview to maximize your chances of getting hired.

Exactly when and how to follow up on a job application or interview
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You’ve created an online profile so employers can find you, built a knockout résumé, submitted your job application, and nailed the interview. Congrats! Now you’re waiting on a response and don’t know what to do next. Following up after an interview might help you land the job.

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Hiring managers are looking for employees that are genuinely excited about the position, and sending a thank-you note shortly after an interview is one of the fastest, easiest, and most effective ways to demonstrate just how interested you are.

Here’s everything you need to know about when and how to follow up on a job application or interview to maximize your chances of getting hired.

We at CareerBuilder are always telling you to be proactive. Send out that résumé! Learn new skills! Be your own advocate! We stand by that. But sometimes a little restraint is the right tactical move. So how do you know when it’s time to lean in and when it’s time to give hiring managers some space?

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Follow up shortly after the interview

Follow up as soon as possible after a job interview. The same day as the interview is perfectly acceptable, and definitely follow up within a 24-hour time frame. Because hiring managers are far more likely to hire a candidate that sends a thank-you note, following up quickly can improve your chance of getting an offer.

Email is the best method for following up after an interview

Unless the company says otherwise, the most professional way to follow up on a job application or interview is via email. Hiring managers are often busy professionals. A phone call might be too forward or seem like an intrusion on their valuable work hours. Use a professional-sounding email address with your name on it for any employment-related communication.

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Follow up individually with each contact

If more than one person interviewed you, send a note to every manager or employee involved in the process rather than shooting off a group email. Send a personalized message to each individual. This small extra step can make your follow-up note memorable and distinct. It might take a few additional minutes of your time, but the positive impact this courtesy adds to your follow-up letter is well worth it.

How to structure a follow-up email after an interview

Here are some key elements of a follow-up email to make a great impression after an interview and potentially boost your chances of being hired:

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  • Keep the email short and specific.
  • Include the job title and your name in the subject line.
  • Remind the recipient who you are, and mention something you discussed in your interview.
  • Express your appreciation for the interview, let the hiring manager know you’re highly interested in the position, and emphasize you’d be a great fit for the role.
  • Reiterate your relevant experience and one or two major accomplishments — a condensed version of what makes you a strong candidate.
  • You can end your email with a line like, “Please let me know if I can provide you with any more information. I look forward to speaking with you again!”

You’ll have a better chance of getting a response if you include a polite call to action, such as asking a follow-up question about the position, requesting additional information, inquiring about the time frame of the hiring process, or simply saying you look forward to discussing the opportunity in more detail.

Should you follow up on an application if you haven’t had an interview?

What if you haven’t had an interview? Many employers use automated systems to screen applications, so you might get an email confirming the company received your application. If you haven’t gotten a confirmation within a day or two, reaching out to the hiring manager could help you establish a connection and keep you from getting lost in the pile.

As long as you’ve followed the company’s instructions and waited the appropriate amount of time, it’s perfectly fine to follow up on the status of an application to ensure it’s been received.

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Contact the right person

Track down the email address of the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job description doesn’t state who you should contact, research the company website or professional networking sites. Always address your correspondence to a specific person. Show the company you’ve done your homework and can craft a personalized message.

Don’t overdo it

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If you haven’t heard anything for more than two weeks, you might want to reach out again. However, don’t reach out more than once every couple of weeks. “Following up does not mean becoming a nuisance,” says Julie Kniznik, senior consultant with ClearRock, a Boston-based HR consulting and leadership development firm. “If you’ve made multiple attempts via email and phone and aren’t making progress, let it go and move on to the next opportunity.

“Checking in periodically based on your understanding of the company’s hiring process is important,” Kniznik adds. “Conducting a successful job search requires being assertive without being annoying.”


This article originally appeared on CareerBuilder and is reprinted with permission.

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