The Art of Following Up

by Alicia Smyth

Expo InterviewMaybe you had an interview at the Industry/Career Expo, or perhaps you handed out your resume to several recruiters and haven’t heard back. To keep the ball rolling and to make a positive impression that can help you to stand out in a sea of candidates, it is crucial that you follow up.

Apply Online

Even if you hand your resume directly to an employer at the Industry/Career Expo and they accept it, nowadays many companies also require you to submit a formal application through their online job system. Be sure to go to the company’s website and apply for those jobs for which you are interested and qualified, especially if the employer specifically requested you do so.

Say Thank You

A simple note of thanks can go a very long way. Be sure to always send a thank you note to each and every recruiter or hiring manager with whom you interview. It is also a nice touch to send thank yous to individuals who take the time to speak with you at career fairs,  conferences or other related events.

When sending a thank you, keep your message concise and confirm your interest in the company and position (if applicable). Make sure you spell names and titles correctly and use proper grammar and correct spelling. This message should go out as soon as possible; if you haven’t sent out your thank yous yet, now is the time.

Thank yous can be in the form of an email or a handwritten note. Review a sample thank you letter on our website.

Check In

If you interviewed two weeks ago and the employer told you he or she would have an answer to you in a week, it is completely acceptable to make contact in order to check on the status of your candidacy.

In this message (which should be very short and to the point), you should thank them for taking the time to meet with you and ask if there are any updates regarding the position.

No News is No News

Just because you don’t hear back right away, do not automatically assume that you are no longer in the running for an opening. Keep in mind that the hiring process can be full of red tape, which can sometimes slow down the process. Additionally, family emergencies, vacations, busy workloads, and other priorities can get in the way of a forthcoming offer.

If you aren’t getting a response from the HR recruiter, check with your network to see if you know someone in the company who can help you out. If you met with the hiring manager and have his or her contact information, contact the person directly.

The Fine Line

Always keep in mind that there is a fine line between inquiring and annoying. You want to appear interested but not desperate. Do not leave constant messages for a recruiter if you do not hear back from them and do not call every single person you know within a company to ask for help.

Moving On

If it has been several weeks and you aren’t getting any kind of feedback on your candidacy, it is time to cut your losses and continue looking elsewhere. Perhaps they went with an internal candidate or decided to hire someone with more experience. Either way, there comes a point when you should move on and focus your time and energy on other viable opportunities.

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude. Leverage your network through social media and by attending career-focused events and conferences. Link up with the Embry-Riddle Alumni Association to find a mentor. Utilize the resources available to you through Career Services. Whatever you do, never give up.

Alicia Smyth has been with the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2000. In her time at Embry-Riddle, Alicia has worked primarily at the Daytona Beach campus but has also served in roles with Prescott and Worldwide. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida. Alicia currently serves as the director and information systems manager for Career Services and loves all things social media and technology. 

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