You just submitted another resume, and now you’re wondering:
What else can I do to help land the interview?
What should I do after applying for a job online?
Will I look desperate if I send an email to the hiring manager?
We'll go through how and when to follow up after submitting your resume.
Should you follow up after sending in a resume?
Following up on a resume submission is a tricky subject but if done right, it could be the deciding factor in landing an interview. You want to show interest and stand out from the crowd. At the same time, you don't want to come off as desperate or too pushy.
There’s a thin line between interested and desperate, so let’s go over some resume follow-up tips for successfully treading that line.
First, if at all possible, you want to reach out to the potential employer before you submit your resume.
This might give you a chance to express your enthusiasm before they even see your resume, greatly improving your chances of being selected for an interview.
Of course, contacting the employer before submission can be tough, especially in larger companies. Browse the internet for contact information. In addition to the company’s website, LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding company contact information.
The Elevator Pitch
If you do get them on the phone, use the opportunity to give them a quick run-down of why you’re the best person for the job. Keep it brief; an “elevator pitch” is a commonly-used term for a quick self-summary. Be prepared to quickly pitch yourself before reaching out. In fact, prepare a rough elevator pitch that you will use throughout your job search. It’s incredibly useful to prepare a few effective seconds of self-promotion.
The Initial Follow-up
If you’re able to reach the company but unable to directly speak with the hiring manager or recruiter, try to get more information about them. If you can get a name, not only will it help in personalizing your cover letter, it will also help in tracking down more contact information.
Try to find an email address. After submitting your resume, send a quick follow-up email directly to the hiring manager that reemphasizes your strong points and your enthusiasm for the job opportunity.
This will help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate resourcefulness and enthusiasm.
Example of how to follow up after submitting your resume:
Email subject line: "Following up on my resume submission - Max"
Dear Hiring Manager [include name if you have it],
I want to reiterate my enthusiasm for the [NAME OF POSITION] role. I’m confident that my [unique attributes or skills] will bring huge value to [company]. I’m looking forward to taking the next steps. If there’s anything I can do to help the process, let me know.
You want to be respectfully aggressive. Reaffirm your desire and remind them what makes you stand out as a candidate.
Remember, it’s possible the hiring manager hasn't reached out because they are over-worked or hindered by other factors they cannot control. Be respectful of all the possibilities - but don't be shy.
*Note - When you see a job posting that has a closing date, avoid following up until a week after the closing date. You will usually see an opening and closing date for government jobs. As an example, we took this posting from the USA jobs website:
You don't want to follow up before the closing date because they're still receiving applications until the deadline.
How long should you wait before sending a follow-up email after a resume submission?
The answer to this can be tricky. It depends on a few different factors.
If you've had no previous correspondence with the employer, it's best to wait about 3-5 business days between submitting your resume and sending the first follow-up email.
However, if you know someone who works for the company or you were able to reach out and contact a hiring manager, it is helpful to email them directly and immediately to let them know you have submitted your resume. This can help get your resume special attention before the hiring manager has a chance to sort through them all.
If your first attempt to reach out after the submission of your resume gets no response, give it two weeks.
After two weeks, reach out again via email. Make the second follow-up very short and to-the-point.
Organizing and logging your job search will greatly help effective follow-ups.
So, how should you organize your job search?
To follow up most effectively, you must keep close track of your applications. This includes:
where you applied
when you applied
a copy of the job listing
the resume and cover letter you used to apply
names and contact info of any people involved
a summary of information exchanged with the potential employer
A well-organized job search is much more effective because you'll never forget any pertinent information, you will have an effective and steady follow-up schedule, and you'll have all the important information available come interview time.
What tools are effective in organizing your job search?
While there a plenty of fancier tools out there, like Trello or Evernote, that can provide a more feature rich experience, most people find that using a simple spreadsheet application is just as effective.
Organize your spreadsheet using the topics we discussed earlier. Again, at the very least you should have the name of the company, the date you applied, the original job listing, names and contact info of all related parties and a summary of the important information you've exchanged with the company. If you like keeping your resume flexible and often change it for each job listing, it’s important to also keep track of which resume you submitted.
An effective follow-up strategy can be the difference between a wasted application and an interview. Stay organized, keep the relevant information from each application available to you for future communication. Try to establish lines of communication during the entire application process and remember, anything you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd without sounding desperate is a positive. Keep these tips in mind, keep your follow-ups organized and the next interview will be right around the corner.
Before you follow up, make sure your resume is perfect, send it into ZipJob for a free resume review.
For a quick overview of effective resume follow-up practices, check out the infographic below:
Jeffrey is one of ZipJob's co-founders and has been a blog contributor since 2016.