Many job candidates have experience, and now, more than ever, candidates are often college-educated, too. This means even more competition for jobs. However, to increase one’s chances of beating out the competition, there are several things a person can do. One important action that people often overlook is the follow-up email after submitting a job application. Read on for tips and advice on why, how and when you should follow up.

Why Send a Follow-Up Email

People often follow up with the employer via phone. This is not a bad idea. You should always contact the employer by phone or email after submitting your application. Contacting the employer lets them know you are truly interested in the job.

While phone calls can be very effective, you must also be lucky enough to phone at the right time. Unfortunately, you may talk with someone via phone who does not know much about the hiring process, or you may be unlucky enough to call at a time when no one is available to take your call.

However, sending a follow-up email is just as effective as a phone call. Plus, you don’t have to worry about emailing at the wrong time. Emails can be read at any time, and the responder will, hopefully, respond to your inquiry when free. Another reason to send an email instead of a phone call is that an email allows you to gather your thoughts better.

When on the phone, you may forget to ask certain questions that you meant to inquire about. Calling back to speak to someone multiple times could result in frustrating the hiring manager. However, you can write multiple drafts of an email before sending one. Read and re-read what you’ve written to ensure that you’ve covered all the bases. Then, send the message.

Career Enlightenment warns job applicants against sending their resumes into a black hole. Instead, you must actively seek employment. One obvious reason to send a follow-up email is to ensure that the employer received your application materials. For instance, if you’re submitting your resume and cover letter via email or postal mail, there’s always the slim chance that it won’t be received. Following up can help you make certain your applications materials are in the hands of the proper person.

The most important reason to send the follow-up email is to ensure that your application hasn’t been lost in the pile of applications. Often an employer with a huge pile of applications might only skim each one for a few seconds. However, if the employer has your application along with an email follow-up, hopefully, the employer will remember your name better. A good, well-written letter can make you look smart, professional and enthusiastic about the job.

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What to Say in a Follow-up Email

According to Monster.com, there are several things you should say in your follow-up email. Begin by greeting the employer by name. Use a title, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” to show that you are respectful. If you don’t know the person’s name, address your letter to the hiring manager or human resources manager.

In your first paragraph, be sure to mention the specific position for which you’re applying. Then, state why you are excited about the position and what you believe you could contribute to it. Mention your education, work experience and any skills relevant to the job for which you’re applying.

Be brief. Your follow-up letter should be no more than 2-3 paragraphs. Don’t babble about things unrelated to the position. At the end of your letter, let the employer know how to contact you. Give them your phone number and email address.

When to Follow Up

You should send your follow-up email anywhere from a few days to one week after submitting your application materials. You don’t want to wait longer than a week to contact the employer, and this is because you may miss out on your opportunity. If you wait too long, the employer may have already filled the position by the time you contact them.

Sending the follow-up at least a few days after the application gives the employer time to at least read over your application materials. It also shows you are considerate of their time and that you don’t expect them to get back to you within hours of the application submission.

Finding work can be a difficult task, especially because applicants are competing with people who are just as qualified, if not more qualified. To tip the odds in your favor, always send an email after submitting each application. Make sure your follow-up email is fine-tuned and specific to the position and employer. Mention the position by name, highlight your qualifications, be brief and always use polite language. Following these tips can result in an offer of employment sooner than you think.

Debbie Richardson is an HR Professional with a master's degree in Psychology. She is now a contributing editor of JobApplicationPoint.com, a website which aims to provide real guidance for those who are struggling in their career path.

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