Help! When should I follow up a job application?

Dear Aunty,

I recently applied for a job as an accountant. I would love to find out when it is appropriate for me to follow up on my application to determine if I am successful or not.

Aunty says,

One of the most frustrating parts of looking for a job is waiting to hear whether or not your application has been successful. In many cases you will not hear anything back from the employer at all, which can be even more frustrating.

The main reason to follow up a job application is obviously to check that your application has been received and considered. It also gives you an opportunity to receive feedback on unsuccessful applications, which could help you when applying for jobs in the future. Be careful though as you should not follow up every application. Some job adverts specify that ANY form of contact outside of submitting your application could be deemed as lobbying and will result in your job application being instantly rejected.

Having decided whether or not you should follow up a job application the next questions are how long should you wait to contact the employer and how should you contact them?

Some people recommend contacting the employer immediately after submitting your application. This demonstrates your enthusiasm and allows you to confirm that your application has been received and will be reviewed. However, others think that this could come across as too pushy and reduce your chances of success. Often people suggest that you try to make 1 week after the closing date as this will give the employer the opportunity to review applications. I would always recommend making a decision based on the information contained in each job advertisement.

What to say when following up your job application?

It is important to ensure that you follow up on an job application in a positive way that will improve rather than reduce your chances of application success. In no circumstances should you harass or insult anyone during this process. If you are following up your job application in writing ensure that your message is concise, error-free, professional and friendly. For example:

Dear {Insert Title},

On X X 2015, I applied for the role of {Insert Job Title} as advertised on

As yet, I have not heard back from your organisation and would be obliged if confirm that my application was received?

I believe that as an experienced {Insert Profession} with qualifications in {Insert Qualifications} I would be able to contribute to the success of your organisation. If you would like me to resubmit my application or require any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

{Insert Your Name}

{Insert Contact Details}

If you are intending to telephone or visit the organisation in person it may be a good idea to produce what is known as an “elevator pitch”. The elevator pitch is what you would say to someone to impress them enough to offer you a job or interview if you just had 30 seconds to talk to them.

When to stop following up a job application?

I would suggest that if you have not heard back from an employer within 6 weeks of the application deadline, and/or have not been able to contact them for further information after 3 attempts then it it is time to stop following up on this job application and to focus your energies elsewhere.

I hope that this information will be of use to you and others in Zambia and wish you all the best for the future.


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