Lindsay Olson

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Candidate question: When should you follow up on your job application?

I asked the Twitter community a couple days ago for their job search and career questions. The response was overwhelming! I will be selecting several reader's questions over the next few weeks to answer on the blog. If you have a job search question you would like to see here, please submit it here. Your name and contact information will NOT be posted.


If a job posting doesn't specify that they will contact you, how long is a sufficient amount of time to wait before checking on the status of your resume?


Waiting one week to follow up from a resume submission is good rule if you have emailed it to a general email address or human resources department. Far too often candidates complain their resume goes to the "black hole." If you′re lucky, you might get an automated response from a job advertisement.

It's important to remember, some ads generated hundreds of responses a day and many companies have tools to automate the entry of resumes into their applicant tracking systems. They may not be looking at every resume individually. The hiring manager may not even be involved at this stage and instead she is relying on the human resources department to pre-qualify and pre-screen candidates.

The best way to make sure your resume gains the attention it deserves for the position is tweak it to fit the job description. Think about what keywords someone might use to search a database to fill an open requisition. Your goal is to be on that short-list.

If you know someone within the company you are applying, it′s always better to have an internal recommendation. If your contact can walk your resume into the hiring manager or the HR department directly, your chances getting an interview improve greatly. Ask your contact to let you know when your resume has been received and follow up directly with the hiring contact in a day or two on the phone if possible or by email.

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In both cases, your follow-up should be concise, yet reiterate your interest in the position, and highlight your accomplishments and qualifications that make you a good fit for the open position. Don′t assume the company knows who you are or remembers what position you applied for. As wonderful it as it would be to hear a yes or no, don′t take it personally if you don′t hear back.

Photo credit: Mdezemery [Flickr]

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