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by Susan P. Joyce | October 03, 2017


A person sitting at their computer going through emails

The job search process can be a long and grueling ordeal, especially if you’re not optimizing your time and efforts. Too many job seekers focus on applying to as many jobs as possible, without taking the time to pursue opportunities they want in a more structured, effective way.

From application to offer, you need to know how to appropriately follow up with potential employers at every step of the job search. Job-Hunt conducted a survey in April 2017 to look at what employers and HR professionals look for after you submit your application and research found that 51% of them say they do not consider candidates who don’t follow up after they submit an application.

However, post-application isn’t the only time you should be following up. Every step of your job search presents an opportunity for you to reach out and build a relationship with potential employers. It’s essential that you read the situation, follow up in a timely manner, and then give time for a response in order to show you are fully interested and invested in the position without overwhelming the hiring decision makers with desperation.

Here are ways to effectively and appropriately follow up throughout each stage of your job search:

After Applying

You don’t want to be just another application that falls into the abyss of the applicant tracking system (ATS). In order to stand out, find who you need to contact and send them follow-up messages. For example, if you applied for a marketing position, connect with HR as well as the marketing management team. Use this as an opportunity to send them some of your work.

The same survey from Job-Hunt found that 61% of employers and HR professionals say they search for professional online profiles to further research a candidate after receiving their application. Instead of putting them to work, make it easy for them to find your value. Share a link to your online portfolio, blog, or website.

Also, show your interest in the company. Research to find a few aspects of their strategy that you value and highlight this in your application, perhaps by mentioning an aspect of their work that was inspiring. For example, say that you’re impressed with their ROI on a brand awareness campaign which they ran for a client. This shows you know the company well.

After the Phone or Video Interview

At this stage, they know you on paper and now through the phone or through video. Remember to take notes shortly after the conversation so you can follow up with a substantial message.

Let’s say they mention an issue with retaining customers after sales promotions. After the call, read some industry content that includes tips and solutions for this point, then share it with them. You can either mention how you thought of them when you read the article and think they would find it interesting or you can simply email with some ideas for how you could help tackle this issue. Either way, it shows you’re already making an effort to contribute and are aware of how to help them overcome obstacles.

After the In-Person Interview

This is one of the most important parts of your job search strategy, as your employer can now put your name and face to your resume and online presence.

Focus on staying connected with them. Email whoever interviewed you as well as whoever set up the interview. If you did a panel interview, write a tailored message to each interviewer. In your email, reiterate your fit and explain how excited you are to hear from them. Highlight how your skills and experience match what they’re looking for. Also, consider writing a handwritten letter. It won’t get buried in the recipient’s email inbox, and it’s a great way to emphasize your strong interest for the role.

Then, make a follow-up call as well. Create a short list of talking points that include why you’re qualified and how grateful you are for their consideration. They may even ask for professional references, so have your list ready.  

Post-Final Interview

The waiting game is never fun. When you’re in this state of limbo, sitting quietly isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Keep them interested and engaged with you while they’re making a decision. Reach out through LinkedIn, email, or even a phone call, offering them any information they need. For example, if they mentioned that they wanted to hire someone who earned a certification, explain how you’re pursuing it. This shows your dedication to your own professional development. Make the most out of your job search by being proactive. When you commit to following up, employers will take notice and appreciate your enthusiasm and interest.

Susan P. Joyce, is an online job search expert and owner and publisher of, the guide for a smarter, safer job search. Connect with Susan on Twitter and LinkedIn.