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When You Should Follow Up After Submitting an Application

Wondering whether you should follow up after you’ve submitted an application for employment? In very rare circumstances you’ll have the HR manager’s e-mail address or contact information (most likely you won’t if you’ve applied online in some form or fashion). But if you do have the employer’s contact info, when should you contact them after submitting an application—if at all?

I will caution you of two things. First, I’m writing this based on ten years of experience as a recruiter and HR manager—the person on the other side of the desk. And second, you’re probably not going to like my advice.

SHOULD I FOLLOW UP?

Save your time!

What’s that, you say?! Don’t follow up after submitting an application?! If you’re one of those job seekers who calls people incessantly, hounding them about the “status of your application”, you’re exasperating the hiring manager and killing his or her time. Doing either of these is not an ideal way to position yourself as a top candidate for the opening.

Let me explain: An employer will likely receive hundreds of applications for each opening. If each one of those people called, e-mailed, or otherwise contacted that hiring manager, the person in charge of hiring would have no time left to actually FIND the qualified candidate. In actuality, she’d spend all her time taking calls and answering e-mails from interested applicants. I’m sure you can imagine how much time it would require to follow up with every single applicant. The hiring manager’s role is to fill the opening with the most qualified person for the position. If your resume demonstrates that you are qualified, you won’t have to follow up with the employer—they will contact you.

THEN WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Utilize your job search time in more meaningful and effective ways. Employ alternate methods to get the most from your job search applications. Instead of following up on every application, use your time to track your job search applications as opposed to your resume response rate. Tracking these figures will give you an overall picture of how many applications you’re submitting versus how many call-backs you are receiving. And this information is priceless. It can tell you two things: first, it will tell you if your resume is effective in securing call-backs (critical information—because if your resume is off, your job search is going to be long and exhausting); and second, whether you are applying for the right types of positions for your experience and qualifications.

One last piece of advice: only invest your time in following up after an actual interview.

An exceptional resume authority, Jessica Hernandez and her team of credentialed writers partner with professional- and executive-level candidates to open doors to jobs at prestigious corporations, achieving over a 99% interview-winning success rate. For examples of branded resumes and Great Resumes Fast’s blog on resume writing tips, visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica's innovative and brand-driven resume development strategies have secured a 99.6% interview-winning success rate for her clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times throughout CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Monster.com, Local Job Network Radio, International Business Times, and more.
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  1. March 30th, 2012 at 11:28 | #1

    Sadly what you say is all too true- applying and following up is similar to a black hole. A problem is to find out whether anyone has actually seen any submissions, and that to me is a huge concern. It very often appears that abuprtness or rudeness is used for an excuse when the volume of replies is large.
    Sure, you see tons of resumes but would it be so tough to have an automatic email acknowledgement in place when information is submitted? Recruiters need to think about how the firm is perceived by the job seekers and often, I find, they do not.

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