You might submit your job application with confidence and anticipate getting an interview. But given how a company can receive numerous applications for a single job opening, there’s always the chance your application will fall through the cracks. In today’s tough job market, you have to be proactive. This is how you set yourself apart from other applicants. If you don’t feel comfortable calling a company’s hiring manager to ask about your application, you can follow-up with an email.
Here are five tips for writing the perfect follow-up email for a job application.
1. Allow enough time to pass
If you’ve been without a job for several weeks or months, you’re understandably eager to find work. But don’t send a follow-up email the day after submitting your application. Realistically, it might take a hiring manager a couple of days to sort through applications. There’s no hard or fast rules regarding how long to wait, but some career experts recommend waiting at least three to five days before following up.
Tip: Make sure you thoroughly read job ads. Some hiring managers specifically ask applicants “not” to contact the company about a job application. If you can’t follow a simple request, the hiring manager may conclude you’re not the right fit for the position.
2. Send your email to the right person
Don’t send your follow-up email to any random email address. Your message will likely end up in the wrong inbox, and there’s no guarantee it’ll be forwarded to the right person. If the job ad had a name and email address, send your follow-up email to this person. You can also browse the company’s website. There might be a directory with employee titles and contact information. The company’s LinkedIn page may also list contact information. If you have the email address for the HR department, but can’t find a name, address your email to the “hiring manager.”
3. Be professional and specific
It’s important to make a good first impression. This is a business email, so your introduction and language should be professional. Don’t address the hiring manager by his or her first name only, and don’t use introductions such as “hey.” Examples of a professional greeting include:
"Dear Hiring Manager"
"Good Morning Mr. Jones"
"Dear Katherine Myers"
Also, identify the purpose of the email in the subject line. For example:
“Follow-up email for executive secretary position”
4. Keep your message brief
This is also an opportunity to sell the hiring manager and bring attention to your qualifications, but don’t rehash everything already included in your cover letter, resume or application. Be enthusiastic, but keep it brief. For example:
Good Morning Mr. Jones,
“A week ago I applied for the executive secretary position advertised on your website. I haven’t heard back from the company, and I would like to confirm that my application was received. I feel my administrative skills and 10 years experience as an executive secretary make me the perfect candidate for this position. I am excited about the opportunity to meet you personally and discuss how I can be an asset to your company.”
5. Proofread before sending
If you’re excited and eager, you might quickly write and send off your email without proofreading. However, this is the hiring manager’s first impression of you, so your email should be free of typos and grammatical errors. Write your follow-up email, and then step away from the computer for 15 or 20 minutes. When you return, it may be easier to catch mistakes.
If you’re not proactive or if you’re afraid to take the initiative, you could miss out on job opportunities. A follow-up email is one way to stand out from the crowd, and it might be the trick to getting an interview.