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Between Application and Interview: How to Follow Up on a Submitted Resume or Application

April 20, 2011 by Careerminds

Brittany Richter
Career Consultant

You’ve submitted your resume and cover letter either via e-mail or an automated HRIS (Human Resource Information System) system set up by the employer, and so the waiting game begins. You begin to ask yourself: When is it appropriate to call? Who do I call? What do I say? How do I even get the phone number? These are all common questions, and although there is a lot of attention paid to how to follow up after an interview, very little is discussed about following up on a resume. The phone call you make to show interest and follow up on your application may be the call that sets you apart, gets your resume moved to the top of the pile, and the call that ultimately gets you the job.

Here are some tips for following up on the resume or application:

  • See if they specify: If anywhere in the job description or the application there are specifications for how to, or not to, follow up – follow those directions. This is more important that following the tips we have outlined here. You want to be sure to follow suit with what the employer or HR professional is asking for. Plus, they may look at this as a way to determine whether or not you pay attention to detail and follow directions.
  • Have something to say: Plan ahead of time what you want to say. This will help reduce any anxiety you may have and help present yourself in a positive way. You may even wish to write it out so that you can read from it.
  • Talk with a smile:  I was recently told that if you smile while you’re talking, even over the phone, your voice is more likely to sound like you’re smiling. You want to be sure to avoid sounding rushed or monotone during phone calls since your voice is all the other individual has to read you.
  • Ask Questions: There are two objectives you have when following up on a resume: to show interest and find out information. Once someone picks up the phone you only have one shot, so make it count. Make a list of questions so that you don’t forget anything. Here are a few examples:
  • “Will all applicants be contacted or only those who you are interested in?”
  •  “Do you know if there is a timeframe for the application process for this position?”
  • “Is there a way I can check the status of my application online?”
  • “Is there a time when I should call back if I haven’t heard anything?”
  • Contact the right person: Again, if someone is specified, then that is who you should call. If not, see if you can track down the contact information for the HR department and start there.
  • E-mail:If you do not have a phone number or are unable to get through after several attempts, consider writing an e-mail. Be sure to have a clear subject line including the position title and your name, and perhaps the word “application.” Use “Dear” as the greeting and the recipient’s prefix and last name.
  • Proofread: Your resume, cover letter, application and all other communication with the company is all that they know about you. Make sure to proofread at least twice.

Here is an example dialogue that you can use to model yours after:

  • Employer Representative: “Hello….”
  • You: “Hi —, My name is —- and I recently applied for the  —- position and am calling to follow-up on my application.”
  • Employer Representative: “—–“
  • You: [Depending on their response] Ask one of the questions from above or ask another question of your own.

Don’t forget to thank whomever you speak with for their time, regardless of how much information they give or how much progress you think you have made.



Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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