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How to Follow Up on a Job

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Following the Leads

Whether you think it was the best job interview ever―or you are afraid you completely blew it―waiting to find out if you got the position is a nerve-wracking experience. If you are a working mom with kids, you’re probably a planner, and being in a state of limbo is unfamiliar and somewhat disconcerting. Fortunately, you have several ways to follow up on a job interview that are not only professional, but could possibly give you an edge if done correctly.

Capitalizing on a Job Lead

For starters, you can follow up on job leads in such a way that they lead to interviews:

  • Send a query email introducing yourself and inquiring about openings. This type of letter is best sent to human resources or the head of the department you’re interested in. Attach your resume for good measure.
  • Apply for an advertised job or a job lead from a friend or colleague in the same way, making note of your referral source. 

For example:

“Susan Smith at the local chamber of commerce suggested you might be looking for a new office manager,” or, “I saw on your ‘careers’ page that you’re looking for an office manager; please find my resume attached.’”

If you get a welcome reception, you’ve got a foot in the door.

Following Up on the Status of an Application

If you submit an application, particularly through an online portal, it can be tough to know if and when a human has actually evaluated your materials. Pay close attention to the job posting for clues. Some online portals allow you to create a login through which you can periodically check back on the status of an application to see if it is under review or at a different stage of the review process.

Still others indicate a close date for applications, which gives you an idea of the kind of timeline the company is working with. Once you know this general information, wait a week after submission before calling human resources to follow up. A simple query is all that’s needed:


“Hi, my name is Gail Jones; I recently applied for your receiving clerk position. I’m calling to inquire if you’re still reviewing applications or if the position has been filled?”

You can send essentially the same message via email, if you prefer. If you get a response indicating reviews are still ongoing, express your enthusiasm for the opportunity to move into the next phase of consideration, and ask when applicants can expect to get phone calls about interviews or about the decision-making process.

Following Up After an Interview

Getting an interview is the first step in the right direction. Immediately after your interview, write thank-you emails to everyone you met with, expressing your gratitude for their time and emphasizing all the things you enjoyed learning about the company and the position. You can also use the opportunity to inquire as to how long they’re continuing to interview and when they plan to make call-backs. If you haven’t heard from them within that time frame, it’s a good idea to email or call again to follow-up.


“I’m just following up from our email exchange last week. You mentioned trying to narrow your candidate pool to the top finalists by this week?”

When You Don’t Get the Answer You Want

You may get turned away at any point in the lead-following process, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Continue to monitor job openings, and if you received any type of encouragement that opportunities might exist down the road, stay in touch. Once a month, send a friendly note:


“Just checking in to see if anything new has opened up that you think I’d be a good fit for. I’m still very interested in being part of your organization.”

Do not get discouraged. Many a top exec has been hired due to their persistence.