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The Art of Follow Up – to a Job Application

July 14, 2020


What’s the right way to follow up after submitting an application to a job? How do you follow up when you have no clue who to follow up with? What’s an effective follow up? If you find yourself with these questions floating around in your head, check this out. The thoughts shared here are relevant and effective for anyone who’s in the job market – going for the President position in a $100M company, this is relevant. Going for your first gig out of design school, this is relevant. The perspective we share here at Malakye is intended to help you feel comfortable in this process and find your own stride.

Following up…

1. DO NOT call the same person, send the same email, and say the same thing repeatedly. That’s beating your head against the wall and trying to put a square peg through a round hole. It doesn’t work.

2. DO figure out who’s on the receiving end of your application and who else is or might be involved in the hiring process. This requires you to think, do your homework, and see the bigger picture. It’s a no-lose situation for you. Every minute you invest in it is a minute closer to you understanding how all the pieces fit together and if it doesn’t work in this one it might work for the next one. So you’re looking for the person who functions as the recruiter, hiring manager, and other people who will be on your team.

3. Know what you want to say and who you want to say it to. Your overall message is going to be consistent but have something different in mind to say and ask to each type of person you’re going to follow up with. What you say to a recruiter or your future boss or coworker / colleague / another person who works at the company is always going to be slightly different and have a slightly different focus. Give each person a relevant message.

4. Advance the dialogue. If you find the right person to follow up with and decide it’s a good idea to send more than one follow up, figure out something new to add and build off of what you said the first time. You can zoom out a little and pick up inspiration from happenings you see going on at the target company.

5. Know when to say when. Trust your gut to tell you when to quit following. Let it go at or before the point where you’d feel embarrassed to see one of these follow up targets in-person. It’s always important and useful to make sure you’re representing yourself as you would in-person.

After an interview, follow up as soon as you can. The sooner the better. Not from the company parking lot but as soon as you’re settled in somewhere after the interview and definitely within 4 hours. An hour is probably ideal.

And remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Establish a process, make small changes based on feedback and your beliefs, and keep pushing forward.