The importance of following up on a job application

The number of applicants for every job vacancy is rising each year and the competition within the job market is fierce. The Covid pandemic has, unsurprisingly, made things even tougher and stories of huge numbers of applicants chasing roles are not hard to find.

Evidently, today’s job searchers need to do something to make themselves stand out from the crowd. But if you’ve sent off an impeccable CV and cover letter and aced your online interview technique, what more can you do to encourage employers and recruiters to give you a second thought?

One essential job-application technique that is often neglected is the follow-up. It’s a common assumption that chasing your job application, either before or after an interview, can seem too keen or pushy and only serves to irritate employers, but that is not the case. Following up indicates that you are proactive, shows your interest in the company and gives you another chance to sell yourself.

Employers are often inundated with CVs, so there’s a chance yours will be overlooked no matter how carefully you have composed it. Following up will either remind them to look at your application again or will raise a positive flag by your name when they see it amongst the CV mountain later on.

So how do you follow up? Whether you’re pursuing after an initial application, or giving a gentle reminder post-interview, there are few ways you can ensure your efforts are effective.

Aim to follow up within 3-5 days.

Contact the right person. Research online or call the HR department to find out exactly who oversees the recruitment process – this is the person you need to impress.

If you’re following up by phone, be prepared to undergo a brief screening interview and have some questions and answers prepared.

When following up by email, try not to be too dry or formulaic. Be creative and show your personality.

Utilise your subject line to get noticed. If you’re emailing after an interview, thank the person by name in the subject line. If you’ve never spoken to the person before, pique their interest and try something like ‘update on my application’ or ‘anything else you need?’

If you’re emailing after your first application, talk about the company and how you can be of benefit to them. Research online for any recent company news or press releases and prove your interest. Avoid looking too dry – show your personality.

Use LinkedIn. Ask to connect with the recruiter and send them a direct message in lieu of a phone call or email.

Don’t overdo it and send multiple follow-ups, this is likely to put employers off.

Consider making contact before you send your CV, by calling and asking for more information and use your application as the follow-up. They will be expecting it and be more likely to take notice.