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How to Write a Job Follow-Up Email That Won’t Make Employers Roll Their Eyes

It’s a familiar scenario. You spend hours creating the perfect resume and job application. You submit it to the employer and hope to hear back. You wait, and wait, but never get a response. The frustration takes hold. When it feels like the application process is taking too long, take matters back into your hands.

A professional job follow-up email can put you in touch with the recruiter and give you extra visibility. Take caution, however, as some well-meaning follow-up messages do more harm than good. Use our writing tips and examples to create a letter that makes you look dedicated, not desperate.

Rules for Writing a Job Follow-Up Email

When you submit a job follow-up email, recruiters will typically perceive it one of two ways. They will either view you as a determined worker who could make an excellent addition to the team, or a desperate nuisance. You can avoid the latter by adhering to the following best writing practices.

Wait at Least One Week

Recruiters recommend waiting at least five business days before you send a query to follow up on your resume. Hiring managers have busy schedules. Even though it feels like they are ignoring you, remember that they are most likely tending to pressing priority projects. Give the hiring manager one or two weeks to contact you before you contact him or her. Anything sooner than five business days could be pesky.

Reintroduce Yourself

Did you know that an average corporate job opening attracts 250 applicants? That means recruiters see thousands of resumes and names for only a handful of jobs. When you follow up, make their lives easier by restating your name and the open position. Convey the basics so that recruiters have all the important information. Without it, they are unable to address your questions.

Exercise Extreme Politeness

According to Brian Magrath, trainer and staff developer at Education First, recruiters appreciate a polite and thankful job follow-up email. “Avoid being too blunt,” says Magrath. “Instead, express your excitement about the job prospect, thank the recruiters for their time, and politely ask about the timeline or next steps.” He adds that asking, “Why haven’t I heard back yet?” is a quick way to ensure you never hear back. This question comes across as self-centered and rude.

Job Follow-Up Email

Below is a job follow-up email from Keisha. Keisha applied to a role as a graphic designer two weeks ago; however, she still hasn’t heard back. She checked the job posting for a hiring timeline, but there was no information specified. Now, Keisha is writing a follow-up message to Jocelyn, the recruiter, to check in on the status of her application.

Hi Jocelyn,

I hope this message finds you well. My name is Keisha Crawford and I recently applied to the role of Graphic Designer. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to create stunning visual content with Boutique Branding. I realize you are busy boosting business for brands; however, I would appreciate it if you could advise me generally of your hiring timeline? I am happy to submit any additional information you need, if helpful.

Thank you very much for taking the time to review my application. I wish you the best of luck in your decision and look forward to hearing back.

Kindest regards,
Keisha Crawford

Job Follow-Up Email Quiz: Does This Message Pass the Test?

Does the jobseeker wait an appropriate amount of time before contacting the recruiter?

Yes! Keisha waited a full two weeks before reaching out to the recruiter. She was also wise to consult the posting before sending her job follow-up email. Always remember to check the posting for information. If the timeline is already listed there, a recruiter may perceive your message as a lack of attention to detail and a waste of time. Don’t let your eagerness to hear back be the thing that prevents you from getting the interview.

Does her message remind the employer who she is?

Absolutely. Keisha begins her message by stating her first and last name. Then, she mentions the role to which she applied along with the employer’s name. She also reminds the recruiter of what skills she offers and how they will benefit the company. Finally, she restates her full name for impact in the closing of the message.

If an inside source recommended you for the role, it is appropriate to state the reference’s name in your message. You can include this information right after your name and the role. Keep it simple, something like: “Current Creative Director, Emily Thatcher, referred me to the role.” If you do not have a referral, just stick to the basics.

Does the message avoid being blunt?

Indeed! Although the message is concise and to the point, it manages not to come across as rude or blunt. At no point does the jobseeker ask why she hasn’t heard anything or make the email all about her. Instead, she understands the recruiter’s busy schedule and offers to send additional information if it would aid in the hiring process. In your job follow-up email, make it your goal to make the employer’s life easier.

Is this message polite and sympathetic to the recruiter?

Affirmative. This message is full of politeness and is clearly sympathetic to the recruiter’s side of things. Right away, Keisha expresses well wishes. Then, she conveys her excitement about the opportunity and understanding of the employer’s busy schedule before kindly requesting information about the timeline. As a true testament that she knows what the recruiters are going through, she closes the message by wishing them luck in the decision-making process.

Does the message thank the recruiter for his or her time and consideration?

Yes. The jobseeker not only thanks the recruiter for reviewing her application, but also using precious time to do so. Be sure to do the same in your job follow-up email!

By writing a humble and appreciative job follow-up email, you can connect with recruiters and get the ball rolling. The job application process all starts with a compelling cover letter. For help with crafting messages optimized for hiring managers and making your own, try out MyPerfectCoverLetter’s personalized cover letter builder.