Use a job application follow-up to your advantage

You've sent off an application for your perfect job and are looking forward to hearing back from the company. The wait can seem agonising and never-ending, especially if you're genuinely excited about the opportunity. Rather than keep yourself in torment, there are some proactive steps that you can take to ease your mind.

Firstly, keep applying for other jobs! You may have your heart set on one particular vacancy, but don't let other roles pass you by by pinning all your hopes on it. At worst, you'll end up with several job offers and a choice to make – and if you don't get your first choice of job, you can rest knowing that you have other opportunities lined up.

Secondly, chase your original application. Do you know how to follow up on a job application? Here, we have a handy guide on how to follow up during a job search to help you grab attention whilst avoiding any faux pas.

Should you follow up on a job application?

A well-thought-out follow-up can boost your chance of being invited for an interview. This is because you will bring your candidacy to the recruiter's attention again and give them another chance to evaluate your application. They'll also see that you have a genuine interest in the position. Lastly, you'll be able to set your mind at rest and move on if the outcome is the dreaded "thanks, but no thanks."

When should you follow up?

If you're wondering when to follow up on a job application, the key word is patience. These things take time.

Before you go in all guns blazing, check the advert again. Quite often, they'll specify the recruitment schedule, including deadlines for applications and responses. There's really no point in following up before the deadline, and, even if the deadline has passed, it's unlikely that the recruiter will have made a snap decision at that exact moment.

Leave at least a week before you contact them, to ensure they've had some time to review the applications they've received. There are many reasons that a response may take longer than expected.

Who should I follow up with?

It's likely ‒ especially if you applied online ‒ that your application wasn't addressed to any particular person. Now's the time to do your research and find out exactly who is reviewing the applications and making decisions on who to interview.

You can do this by re-reading the advert, hunting through LinkedIn, or even phoning the company to ask. You'll need to find out the HR manager's name, email address, and phone number.

How should I follow up?

When you follow up on a job application, an email is your best option. It's typically considered the most professional form of communication. Plus, it allows you to attach your application again, for easy reference, whilst expressing your continued interest in the position.

If, after a couple of weeks, you still haven't had a response, a direct call to the HR manager is a decent last option.

What should I say in my job application follow-up?

Remember that the company may be hiring for several positions, especially if it's a larger business, so start by stating the exact position you're applying for.

In the body, you'll want to express your continued interest and confirm whether they've received your application. Finally, ask when you can expect to hear from them regarding next steps.

Don't feel the need to apologise for chasing them – you're merely showing your enthusiasm for the role and asking valid questions. Conversely, don't put pressure on them or criticise the delay – it won't help your case!

How can I follow up after an interview?

If you've made it to the interview stage, congratulations! You're well on your way to landing a new job. Make sure you maintain the momentum by asking about timelines and contact details at the end of the discussion, so that you're well prepared to follow up with the correct person in an appropriate timeframe.

The guidance is the same for following up on an application, but with the added bonus of being in a smaller candidate pool and having made a personal connection with the HR Manager.

What if I don't get the job?

If you don't get the job, it will certainly be disappointing. However, a follow-up to ask for feedback is well worth your time; you can ensure that the next time you apply for a role, you address areas of concern and don't find yourself repeating the same mistakes.

In summary

Waiting for a response to your job application can be frustrating. When following up, remember this:

  • Follow up after an appropriate amount of time

  •  Address your follow-up to the relevant decision-maker

  •  Attach your application documents to the follow-up

  • Stay polite and professional

  •  Ask for feedback

Job application follow up example

Try an email along these lines to follow up your job application:



Subject: Sales Executive application, Robert Jones

Mrs Smith,

I was very keen to apply for the position of Sales Executive that was advertised last month. I wanted to confirm that you've received my application (attached again for your reference) and to ask when I can expect to hear from you regarding next steps.

I remain very interested in the position and am sure that I will be able to play a key role in enabling your business to achieve its sales goals. If you have any concerns regarding my application, please don't hesitate to call me so that I can set your mind at rest. I look forward to meeting with you soon to discuss my suitability further.


Robert Jones

Before you follow up, send a strong application that features an impressive CV. Get expert feedback on yours by submitting for a free CV review.

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