The next step isn't just sitting back and waiting – there's plenty you can do to increase your chances of getting an interview. But following up in the right manner is crucial, because doing it poorly can be a deal-breaker. Here are some do's and don'ts for following up after applying for a job:
Connect with the hiring manager.
In addition to sending an application to the given email address, track down the email address of the hiring manager, and send an application to him or her as well. If an Internet search doesn't reveal who the hiring manager is, a simple phone call to the company's main switchboard often will. In your email, note that you applied through the official channels but wanted to reach out directly, too. (That shows that you followed the application instructions.)
But don't stalk the hiring manager.
Don't compulsively check the status of your application. A week after applying, it's OK to follow up with the hiring manager once to reiterate your interest in the job. Email rather than call, since emailing is less of an interruption in the hiring manager's probably busy day.
In your email, say something like ...
"I submitted my application for your ____ position last week, and I just want to make sure you received my materials. I also want to reiterate my interest in the position; I think it might be a great match, and I'd love to talk with you about it when you're ready to begin scheduling interviews."
Send only one email.
After sending that one message, you can't continue to follow up without looking pushy. If the company invites you to interview, you can follow up again after it – but you shouldn't follow up more than once without a response at each stage of the process. That can be frustrating when you really want to hear a reply, but at that point, it's in the company's court, and continuing to push won't reflect well on your candidacy.
Be enthusiastic, but not desperate.
It doesn't look desperate to express interest in the job or check in to ask about the timeline. But enthusiasm does cross the line if you're calling regularly, sounding eager to take any job as opposed to this one in particular, or appearing as if this is your only option.
Make LinkedIn your friend.
This is where LinkedIn really shines: You can search to see if anyone in your network is connected to someone who works at the company you're applying to – or if anyone you know is even a few degrees away from someone works there. Depending on who the connections are, you could ask for background information on the job, ask for a proactive referral or introduction, or ask directly for an interview.
Why not search online for blogs written by people who work at the company you're targeting? If you find one, read some of the posts, then contact the blogger with complimentary (but genuine) feedback on his or her work. Once a rapport is established, you can then mention that you're applying at the company and ask what it's like to work there. Don't be pushy, but in some cases, this can lead to an introduction to someone involved in hiring.
Keep job searching.
And last, no matter how perfectly qualified you think you are for this job, remember to keep job-searching. Don't get too invested in any one opportunity until you have a job offer in hand!
Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report
Click hrough the slideshow below for some more job search helpful tools:
7 Tools Every Job Seeker Needs
How to follow up on a job application without being annoying
1. Email signature.
Your email signature is possibly one of the most important branding tools you're not taking advantage of. It’s your chance to let everyone know what your expertise is, how to contact you and where to learn more about you online. Employees are often required to add the company logo, tag line and contact information to email signatures. As job seekers, an email signature is a subtle way to remind people what you do.
Quick tips: The most important information to include is your name, phone number, email address, desired occupation and link to your LinkedIn profile. An easy solution is to use an app like WiseStamp to create and insert your signature.
2. Active and robust LinkedIn presence.
LinkedIn has become a go-to source for companies of all sizes to seek out talent. While your profile will be similar to your résumé, it is not exactly the same. LinkedIn is a social network where people share information. Besides having a profile rich in content and media, you should also share newsworthy articles to help build your online reputation and stay connected with your network.
Quick tips: You must have a headshot, a headline that describes what you do and a summary where you tell your story. But don’t stop there. Embed a presentation that summarizes your experience or includes testimonials. Have you downloaded the SlideShare app for LinkedIn? What about the LinkedIn Connected or Pulse apps? These tools give you a better mobile LinkedIn experience.
3. An easily accessible, on-the-go résumé.
There will be occasions when someone wants you to send your résumé ASAP or when you arrive at an interview and your résumé is MIA. Save your résumés so you can easily access them and share them from your mobile device.
Quick tip: Being able to access important documents from anywhere is critical not only in your job search, but at work, too. Learn how to save and share documents using Dropbox or Google Drive, which provide free storage and are easily accessible from any device.
4. Business cards.
This may seem old-fashioned, but business cards make life easier. When you meet someone new or reconnect with an old friend, just hand him or her your card at the end of the conversation.
Quick tip: Your business card need only include the information you want to share: your name, occupation (or desired occupation), phone number, email address and links to any social media profiles, like your LinkedIn URL. If you want to use something more high-tech, try one of the apps that allows you to share your card from your phone, like CardDrop. Or pick up a business card with FullContact’s Card Reader.
5. Your perfected pitch.
You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Don’t blow it. You’ll need it when you meet people and they ask what you do. You’ll also need one customized for every interview you take. Your pitch conveys what problem you can solve for an employer. Use words and language to ensure your unique style and personality come through. And avoid résumé-speak or jargon that isn’t universally understood.
Quick tip: Keep your pitch under a minute, and practice so it sounds natural. If you need some guidance, check out the myPitch app created by Karalyn Brown of InterviewIQ.
6. Target list of potential employers.
Rather than searching job boards all day, looking for the perfect job and getting lost in the black hole of applications, why not approach people inside companies you would like to work for? This route is more work up front, but it will help you stand out and rise to the top of the referral pile if you make the cut.
Quick tip: There are tons of apps for finding posted jobs, but what you really need is additional help networking. Don’t miss Alison Doyle’s new app called Career Tool Belt. It's loaded with job hunting tips, including the 30 Days to your Dream Job series to guide you day by day.
7. A dose of motivation.
Job searching tends to lead to frustration. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the process. Invest time doing things that rejuvenate your energy and keep you feeling hopeful, such as exercising, volunteering or learning a new skill. Keep moving forward and create to-do lists and follow-up actions every day.
Quick tip: Whether you use a calendar system or an organizational app like Any.do, mapping out your weekly activities helps maintain momentum and puts you in the driver’s seat.