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The importance of following up on a job application

The number of applicants for each job vacancy is rising each year and the competition within the job market is fierce. The manufacturing, hospitality, retail, administration, media, finance, oil and energy industries are among those that received the most applications in 2015, with CV Library reporting an average of 57.3 applicants per job vacancy.

Evidently, today’s job searchers need to do something to make themselves stand out from the crowd. But if you’ve sent off an impeccable CV and cover letter and aced your interview technique, what more can you do to encourage employers and recruiters to give you a second thought?

One essential job-application technique that is often neglected is the follow-up. It’s a common assumption that chasing your job application either before or after an interview can seem too keen or pushy and only serves to irritate employers, but that is not the case.

Following up indicates that you are proactive, shows your interest in the company and gives you another chance to sell yourself.

Employers are often inundated with CVs, so there’s a chance yours will be overlooked no matter how carefully you have composed it. Following up will either remind them to look at your application again, or will raise a positive flag by your name when they see you amongst the CV mountain later on.

So how do you follow up? Whether you’re pursuing after an initial application, or giving a gentle reminder after your interview, there’s a few ways you can ensure your efforts are effective.

  1. Aim to follow up within 3-5 days.
  2. Contact the right person. Research online or call the HR department to find out exactly who is in charge of the recruitment process – this is the person you need to impress.
  3. If you’re following up by phone, be prepared to undergo a brief screening interview. Have some good questions and answers prepared.
  4. When following up by email, try not to be too dry or formulaic. Be creative and show your personality.
  5. Utilise your subject line and use it to get noticed. If you’re emailing after an interview, thank the person by name in the subject line. If you’ve never spoken to the person before, pique their interest and try something like ‘update on my application’ or ‘anything else you need?’
  6. If you’re emailing after your first application, talk about the company and how you can be of benefit to them. Research online for any recent company news or press releases and prove your interest. Avoid looking too dry – show your personality.
  7. Use LinkedIn. Ask to connect with the recruiter and send them a direct message in lieu of a phone call or email.
  8. Don’t overdo it and send multiple follow-ups, this will put employers off.
  9. Consider making contact before you send your CV, by ringing up and asking for more information and use your application as the follow-up. They will be expecting it and be more likely to take notice.

For more careers advice, visit our career development page, here.

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