When you’re looking for work following up isn’t optional, it’s mandatory. Let’s talk about when, how, and why you should follow up.
Why Does It Matter?
Employers want to hire individuals who are confident in their ability to do the job and also sincerely interested in working for them. When they have multiple qualified candidates and it’s tough to choose, much of the time they will go with the person they feel is most eager to work for them. You become that person when you follow up.
When to Follow Up
Develop a record-keeping system that helps you remember to follow up in these situations:
- After you send a resume – In your cover letter, indicate that you would like to follow up a week after submitting it, and then do that.
- When an employer reaches out to schedule an interview – The day before a phone, in person, or video interview is scheduled, follow up to confirm the details (and show your interviewer you’re both organized and excited at the prospect).
- After each interview – As the interview comes to a close, ask everyone you met for a business card (so you have their email address). Then, send a thank you letter or email the same day or within 24 hours. Before you hit send, check and double check how you spelled their name and that you entered the correct email address. If a staffing firm scheduled your interview, send them a thank you note as well.
- After a referral – If someone gave you a lead, let them know when you follow up and keep them informed of your progress.
- When you provide references – Let everyone on your reference list know they might be contacted.
- When you get a job offer – Send a thank you note to your new employer to express your enthusiasm for their offer.
How to Follow Up
Email is often the best way to reach out. It might be tempting to call the person directly, but sending an email shows you are extremely interested in the position, but you also respect his or her time. However, if the employer sends you a text message or makes a phone call, follow their lead and reply with the requested information using the same communication method.
If you don’t hear back after your initial follow-up message, it could be due to a lengthy interview process or because the hiring manager got busy. This might be the hardest part of a job search because your mind will suggest all kinds of things that make you swing between fear and hope. Don’t assume the worst; just remind yourself that the process takes time. Wait a full week, then send another polite email.
When working with a recruiting or staffing firm, it is also critical to maintain timely communication. If you are responsible and stay in regular touch with them, they will work actively on your behalf to connect you with job opportunities.
Following up demonstrates professionalism and helps people remember you. It gives you an opportunity to express gratitude and enthusiasm, both qualities employers prize. Review the job search activities you completed this week and identify opportunities for following up today, then get to work doing so right away.