Everything You Need to Know About Following Up

Students are often reluctant to follow up after applying for a job or after an interview because they don’t want to come across as pushy. While that concern is understandable, it is important and advisable to follow up with employers (unless the job posting or website explicitly says not to) as it will show that you are genuinely interested in the role. This is especially important for your top choice organizations! 

Why Follow Up

Be sure you are clear on your reason for following up as this will help to inform your timing and approach! Some common reasons include:

  • To help you stand out from the crowd. Think of following up as a demonstration of your enthusiasm and as taking initiative. (Employers love candidates who are enthusiastic about their work and who take initiative.)
    Hiring managers have a lot of applications to review. Sending a thoughtful and professional follow up message will likely encourage them to take a closer look at your application, which helps them do their job!
  • To gather more information. If you have questions about the process or timeline, you can ask those in a follow up message. Just make sure your questions aren’t already answered in the job description, on the organization’s website, etc.
  • To get an update on the timeline for a top choice position. If, for example, you receive an offer for one position, but you have interviewed for a different position that you prefer, you should follow up with that preferred employer to let them know about the offer and inquire about the timeline. 

How to Follow Up

Most people follow up via email, but a good old-fashioned phone call also works. Either way, be sure to think about the following in your follow up message:

  • Be sure to express your enthusiasm for the position and gratitude for their consideration.
  • Keep it short, but highlight what interests you in the role or makes you a strong candidate.
  • Clearly articulate why you are reaching out.
  • If following up after submitting your application, reference how and where you applied for the position (e.g. Handshake, organization’s website, LinkedIn).
  • Mention anything important you want the employer to know. For example, if you are applying for a role in another city and will be traveling there soon, mention the dates that you will be in the area in case they want to schedule an interview. 

Check out this video for more tips on follow up after applying and this article on What to Include in a Follow-Up Email After Your Interview has more helpful tips!

When to Follow Up

  • After applying for a job: If you’re applying for a position online through an organization’s website, you can send a follow up message soon after (i.e. within a day).
  • After an interview: Be sure to send a thank you note within 24 hours. Other messages, however, will depend on the hiring timeline provided to you. If no timeline was provided, unless you are looking for an update because you received another job offer, it’s generally best to wait at least one week after the interview to reach out. 

As always, if you have questions about following up, you can always schedule a meeting with a career coach

– By Rachel Greenberg, Director, Career Education and Strategy

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