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Photo of career adviser Lynn, author of this blog post.By Lynn Galowich Page, JD, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students in the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP); Northwestern’s pre-law adviser

A common refrain I hear from students is: “It has been a week or two since I applied for jobs (or internships) I am really interested in and I have not heard any response yet from the employer. What should I do?’

Here are some best practices on how to follow up and reiterate your interest in a position.

1. Follow-up after two weeks with an email

You want to strike a good balance with sending follow-ups. Don’t be too aggressive and reach out after a few days, but don’t let too much time pass either, lest the employer thinks you have lost interest or moved on to another opportunity. Having spent several years as a recruiter, I believe two weeks is a good timeframe since the employer may have a better sense of their next steps after having time to screen applications or assess interview feedback.

2. Make your follow up email short and to the point. Here is a good example:

Dear (name of recruiter or hiring manager),

I recently submitted my application for XYZ position at your organization. I wanted to confirm my materials were received and reiterate my interest in the position. I believe I am a great fit for the position and your organization because (list here a key reason or two why you are a good fit based on what is in the job description). Please let me know if you need any additional information from me or if we might be able to schedule a time to meet to further discuss my qualifications and interest in the position. I look forward to hearing back.

3. Identify with whom to follow up

If you do not have contact information for a specific person with whom you should follow up, you should try to identify the name of someone who might be involved in the hiring process. This person might be either an HR recruiter or the hiring manager (the person who would be supervising the position for which you are applying). Here are places to find this information:

  • Use LinkedIn or the Our Northwestern alumni directory to connect with an alum to see if they can give you the name of the hiring manager and even possibly connect you.
  • Check the organization’s website to see if they have an employee directory which lists staff names, titles and contact information.
  • Look at the organization’s LinkedIn page to see if they list all their employees.
  • In some cases, a call to an organization’s general phone number to ask for the name and contact information of the recruiter for the position can yield the information.

Following up in a courteous, professional way can make you stand out by showing the employer just how interested you are in the position. Being the candidate who follows up can help your resume get a closer look and can very well make the difference in securing you the interview or the actual job or internship.

If you need further help with your follow-up strategy, your NCA career adviser is here to help. Schedule an appointment in Handshake.