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How to Follow Up After Applying for a Job Online

Follow these 3 steps...

by Janna Kefalas in Job Search, Resumes

Back in the day, applying for a job was a much more clear-cut process. You either sent a resume and cover by snail mail or you emailed your application to an actual person.

After a week, you’d pick up the phone and ask for the HR department. If you got someone live, you’d see if they received your resume and made a quick pitch on why you were right for the job. If you were really lucky, they’d find your resume in the stack and do a little interview right there on the phone.

Man, how times have changed! Now, after you click APPLY on a job site, you’re lucky if you even get an auto-response saying they’ll contact you if your qualifications are a match for the position. (Basically a “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”)

But you can understand why employers discourage you to call (or gosh forbid STOP BY the office). With the proliferation of 1-Click Apply buttons, companies are receiving dozens or even hundreds of applications per position. Can you imagine if they received that many follow-up phone calls?

But does that mean you shouldn’t follow up after applying for a job online? Heck no! In fact, with the dependance on applicant tracking systems, following up may make the difference between having your resume seen or not.

That’s because the ATS can screen out up to 80% of resumes, based on keyword matching. If there isn’t a high enough match percentage between the job description and your resume, there’s a good chance your resume will get tossed out.

So what’s the best way to follow up? First, wait 3-5 business days. Next, try these 3 steps:

Step #1 – Check the job description

Every now and then there are application instructions on the job description that may include an email address for general inquiries. Best to look there first.

Step #2 – Use LinkedIn

If no instructions are given, you’ll want to see if you have any LinkedIn connections at the company. If you have a second degree connection, see if your first degree connection can make an introduction.

No luck there? Try and research who might be the hiring manager in the department you’re applying to. Also, look for a recruiter or talent acquisition specialist in HR.

Send them personalized connection requests, and once they accept, let them know the title of the position and date you applied — and write a one paragraph argument for why you’re an excellent fit for the role. You’re able to attach the resume and cover letter you submitted right there as well. That way, in case your original application didn’t make it through the ATS, they have it right there to reference.

IMPORTANT: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is in tip top shape so you make the right impression before reaching out to employers. Each section should be completed and optimized with relevant keywords for the roles you’re targeting. Have a professional looking photo and make sure your work experience showcases your accomplishments, not just your duties.

Step #3 – Try Email

If you’re not having luck connecting with employees at the company you applied to, do a little detective work to see if you can figure out the email address of the hiring manager and/or recruiter. Many company emails follow the format or, but online email finder tools may help you get it right.

Regardless of your approach, know that applying for a job is only half the battle. Because there’s a good chance your resume isn’t making it through the ATS, following up will greatly up your odds of advancing to the next round.

And since many job seekers don’t bother taking this extra step, you’ll stand out as a motivated candidate.