Applying for jobs is already stressful enough. First you have to search for any openings you might be suitable for, then you have to tailor your resume so you’re a perfect candidate.

But what about after you send your resume?

It’s important to follow up for many reasons. First, you want to make sure they received it. Additionally, you want to help make your name stand out from the rest of the pile. You’re certainly not the only person applying for the job, so any opportunity to make an impact is crucial.


Don’t Expect a Call       

Hiring managers receive a lot of resumes — don’t expect yours to jump out automatically. You need to be proactive with the hiring process. This is why it’s important for you to follow up.


Wait – But Not Too Long

While it’s important to be proactive, you don’t want to be a nuisance. You don’t want to follow-up right away and annoy the recruiter. At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long and pass up the opportunity. So, when do you contact them?

The sweet spot for following-up seems to be about two weeks. In a poll, eighty-two percent of executives recommended following-up within two weeks since that’s about how long it takes hiring managers to review applications and contact candidates.


Thoroughly Read the Description

Before contacting the company, it’s essential that you’ve read the job description. Many times the job description will specifically state “do not call” or will list a specific date range when decisions will be made. The fastest way off the potential-hire list is to disregard instructions.


Check for Contact Information

Once you’re ready to make the call or email, make sure you have the correct contact information. Check for a hiring manager’s name or someone who would be in charge of hiring you. If you can’t find a specific contact, look for the company information and see if a receptionist can help you find the correct person.


Confirm You’re Talking to the Hiring Manager

It sounds silly, but make sure you’re talking to the correct person. Even if you have a phone number or had a receptionist help you, there’s always a chance the information got mixed up. After introducing yourself, take the few necessary seconds to make sure you’re talking to the hiring manager.


Verify Your Resume Was Received

Once you’re in touch with the correct person, explain that you want to confirm your resume was received. This shows you’re calling with a purpose and assertive enough to take matters into your own hands. Both are good traits for any job application.


Show You Want the Job

Make sure you leave an impact with your call — specifically, show that you want the job. Don’t come off as desperate, but make it clear you would love to meet in person to discuss this opportunity. Give them a reason to call you back.


Don’t Call Constantly

It’s good to follow up — it’s bad to follow up every day. You will make a good impression with one call or email. However, if you’re constantly pestering them about your resume, that will only hurt your chances. You’ve already made an impact — now you just have to wait.

Here are a few other things to remember about the time period after submitting the resume and before a potential interview:

  • Use a professional voicemail. Nothing says unprofessional like an informal voicemail. Simple is better — your voicemail should include your name and you should ask the caller to leave their name, phone number and reason for calling.
  • Check your voicemail regularly. If you’re regularly submitting your resume for jobs, you should also be regularly checking your voicemail. Nothing annoys a hiring manager quite like calling a potential candidate and never hearing back (except not being able to leave a message at all because of a full voicemail). Check your voicemail in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon. That way, if you have any messages, you can call back before the end of the workday.
  • Be polite when answering phone calls. Treat each phone call as if a hiring manager was on the line. If you get a lot of calls from telemarketers, it might be tempting to answer with an uninterested or even snappy tone when you see a phone number you don’t recognize. Remember that you never know who is on the line until you pick up.


When following up after submitting a resume, it’s important to make a good impression. Follow these rules, and remember to be confident in your abilities — if you feel like you’re a qualified candidate, it will make a world of difference through the hiring process.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

2 Comments on How to Follow Up After Submitting a Resume

  1. Lindsey
    June 23, 2015 at 2:41 am (6 years ago)

    This is such great advice! I follow this and give similar advice to clients. It’s so important to know the correct protocol. Some people though are afraid to follow this and say that it’s not the way it’s done in their industry, but I think it’s applicable to any industry as long as you follow the guidelines. If you don’t reach out, it’s easy for your application to get lost in the hundreds of others. Making the effort shows initiative and can make a great impression. Thanks again for the great advice!


    • Sarah Landrum
      June 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Lindsey! I couldn’t agree more!


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