“When should I follow up [after I meet a new contact, after I submit my application, after an interview]?”

It depends on the circumstances.

How to follow up with a Networking Contact

You meet someone at an event or through an introduction by someone you know and you want to stay in touch. Perhaps you had a great conversation and would welcome their advice about your career path or you are interested in positions at their company. Maybe you feel the contact personally can’t help you out but has a broad network that you may be able to tap into.

  •  When: Within a day or two after you meet. If you don’t contact them quickly it’s possible the person might forget your conversation.
  • How: Connect with the person online and send an email, where you have more space to write a personal message. Mention something from your conversation.
  • What: Keep it short. Tell her how much you enjoyed meeting and reiterate what you discussed. If you have a point to follow up on, mention it. Alternatively, if you have an immediate question such as “Would you be willing to take a look at my resume?” – ask. An offer to help the person is also a nice gesture no matter what your intention is.

when to follow up after submitting an application online

You applied for a job online and are waiting to hear back.

  • When: If you applied online and received an email to let you know your application was submitted successfully, wait about five business days to follow up. If you didn’t get a confirmation email, go ahead and contact a recruiter in about three business days.
  • How: It’s easy if the contact information for the recruiter is in the posting or if you can see who posted the job. If not, search the company’s website to find a recruiter and reach out.
  • What: If you do not know if your resume was received, write a recruiter to ask for confirmation of receipt. If you know your application was received, give the recruiter information they need. Tell them to what job you applied, when you applied, and ask for the status. A resume can easily go into the black hole of applicant tracking software (ATS) and become a victim of imperfect keyword searches, so this may help you get a recruiter to actually look at your resume. Attach your resume.

How to follow up after a referral or introduction

If you apply to a job through a contact, i.e., you’re referred for a position, how long should you wait to follow up?

  • When: If it’s a close contact that’s helping you out with the referral and you haven’t heard anything in one week, ask your contact for the recruiter’s name and contact information. Ask what timeframe is appropriate for following up.
  • How: Try calling the recruiter on the phone. If you can’t get the person on the phone, send an email.
  • What: Ask the recruiter about the status of your application and when you should expect to hear back.

How to follow up after an interview

The first “follow up” step you should take is at the interview itself. At the end, if they haven’t given you a timeline, ask about next steps and when to expect to hear something.

  • When: Depending on that answer, you’ll have a better idea of when it’s appropriate to follow up. Wait until that period of time has passed before reaching out. If you forgot to ask about it during the interview, ask in your thank you email that you send to the hiring manager. Afterward, if you haven’t heard back from anyone, call the recruiter in about three business days to find out your status and when you should expect to hear something.
  • How: It’s a good idea to call first, and if you cannot reach the recruiter, send an email.
  • What: Reiterate your excitement about the position and ask what to expect as far as next steps.

No matter what part of the job search process you’re in, follow up is important. Applications and resumes can easily be lost. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy. While you need to give them time to run applicants through their chain of command, deal with emergencies, and let people return from vacation, it’s important to let them know of your continued interest and ensure that you don’t get lost in the application black hole.

Related News

Marcelle Yeager helps people land jobs that get them to the next level of their career. Through her company Career Valet, she works with mid- to senior-level professionals on their branding strategy and job search materials to secure new roles. She co-founded a second business in 2015 called ServingTalent, where she finds jobs for talented military and Foreign Service spouses. Marcelle has spent over six years living and working abroad. She can be reached at myeager@careervalet.com.