A week ago, you came across a vacancy for your dream job. You spent hours researching the company, hours writing the perfect cover letter and a similar amount of time hovering over the ‘send’ button while you grammar and spell-checked for the twentieth time.
After hitting the send button (or when your flatmate/family member had had enough and did it for you), all that was left to do was wait. And wait.
After a week has passed, you might start getting a little antsy. Have they received your application? Or has it got lost in a sea of hundreds of other CVs similar to yours?
You’re faced with a choice. You can either wait patiently, hoping the employer will get in touch if they’re interested, or you can decide that patience is not, in fact, a virtue and follow up with the company.
Should I follow up?
If you still haven’t heard back within two weeks, it could be advantageous to email or call up to check the status of your application – especially if you really want the job.
A polite email or quick phone call could convey enthusiasm, dedication and ambition, and more importantly it could differentiate you from the other candidates.
What should I ask?
All you really want to know is whether they’ve received and looked through (not to mention been blown away by) your application. But ‘Did you get my CV? Yes? K thanks bye’ is not going to suffice – you need to have a couple of sensible back-up questions on standby.
What are the next steps in the recruiting process? Will all candidates be contacted? Do you need any additional information regarding my application? These are all possibilities.
When not to follow up
If an email address or phone number is not supplied, or if the post says not to contact the employer, stick to these instructions to be on the safe side and lay low.
Not all employers like to be contacted just to confirm the receipt of an application, making this a tricky game to play. Some say it makes a bad impression because it seems as though candidates are just fishing for attention; attempting to get noticed. Others brand these phone calls unimportant and an unnecessary pain that interrupts their work.