Career Center

How to Follow Up

How to Follow Up without Being a Pest

We're at the end of July now. Have you been applying or interviewing for jobs, and now are wondering when, or if, you'll ever hear back?  It's a good idea to follow up!  Unless employers specifically state "don't call," most don't mind contact from job applicants who are asking about their hiring timeline.  Just remember the job seeker's Cardinal Rule: Make sure you are always polite and professional in every contact with a potential employer!

So, what's the protocol for following up?  Follow these simple steps:

  • The best thing to do is always to anticipate the need to follow up by "leaving your foot in the door" for later contact. That is, when you write your cover letter or interview thank you letter, mention that you plan to follow up in a couple of weeks to see if they require more information or if they would like to discuss your qualifications further.
  • Similarly, when you are wrapping up interviews, "close the interview" by expressing your interest in the job, and requesting the employer's consent for you to follow up. Find out their preferred method of contact (email or phone), and an approximate date for you to do so. 
  • When you follow up, if the employer still isn't ready to make a decision, again leave your foot in the door by asking for permission to call back or email a second time, and again request a timeframe to do so.  (Refer back to the Cardinal Rule before you do so; here's when it might become difficult to be patient!)

Anytime you have an important update in your contact information, you can use that as a basis for follow up:  "I have a new address", "I am now using my married name", "I have just completed a certification program," etc.
Following up is an indication of your ongoing interest and availability, and if you meet the employers' qualifications, they'll generally be glad to hear from you.  If you follow their advice in scheduling the intervals of contact, you won't become a pest.

Good luck!  And let us know when you've had success, or if you'd like assistance!

Margaret Krantz