The job search can be frustrating, especially when you’ve perfected your job application but still don’t hear back. 

Many hiring managers and recruiters have good intentions and try to reply to everyone who applies, but many are also inundated with applications and simply don’t have the time. 

If your job application is a valid one (i.e. you meet the requirements of the role), then it’s perfectly reasonable to follow up by email or phone if you don’t hear back within a couple of weeks.

Here’s how to follow up on a job application the right way.

1. Understand the priorities of the person you’re contacting

Remember that even though it’s your top priority, your job application is just one of many that the hiring manager is considering. Not only that, but filling the role is just one of many priorities they have to focus on – so keep in mind that they may not be able to respond to you right away.

Give it a couple of weeks after applying before following up, and when you do, don’t expect a reply the same day – it could take a couple of days or even a week.

2. Plan what you want to say

Whether you’re following up by phone or email, prepare what you are going to say so you don’t waste time. Make sure you come across as confident, in control and not needy. All you’re doing is following up to find out what’s going on. 

Don’t forget to include essential details such as who you are, the role you applied for and  when you applied. Keep your message short and sweet: ask if they’ve had a chance to review your application and if not, when would be appropriate to touch base at a later time. You can also use the opportunity to briefly recap your relevant experience in a sentence, but remember to keep it succinct.

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3. Be prepared for them to say ‘no’

If they come back to you with a ‘no, thank them for their time and consideration. If you can, highlight your core competencies that are relevant to the role and let them know that, should another need arise for your skills and experience, you would be happy to be considered. 

Now they know your name and capabilities, next time you may get further along in the process. This is all about relationship development. People are comfortable and are more trusting of people and things they are familiar with. If another role comes up and your name is a familiar one, you may get a second chance. 

There isn’t a magic formula for landing a job, but those who have a positive, flexible attitude, are willing to try a new approach and will explore every angle when marketing themselves, are often successful in a shorter period of time.

If one door closes, look for another door that is ajar. And if you can’t find one, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

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