Following up is a critical step that often gets overlooked. You're probably competing with several other job seekers for the same job and employers tell us that following up is a great way to stand out and get noticed.
There are three common ways to follow up: email, phone and in person.
1. Following up through email
Email is probably the least scary way to follow up on a job application because you don't actually have to talk to the hiring manager. But that comes with a couple of drawbacks, including not actually getting to talk to the hiring manager.
Your email can and should be short. You don't want to repeat the same stuff that you put into your application or cover letter. And remember to review your follow-up email before you send it out. Treat it just like you would a resume or cover letter, and even have a friend look over it for any mistakes.
2. Following up by calling
If you're going to follow up over the phone, make sure you practice what to say beforehand. You really don't want to be caught hanging up as soon as they answer.
And only follow up during non-peak business hours (this goes for following up in person, too!). For restaurants this means between 2 - 4 p.m., and for retail this means after 4 p.m. on weekdays. A little piece of advice, even though you're on the phone, don't forget to smile. Hiring managers can tell if you're happy or grumpy.
3. Following up in person
Following up in person is a great way to get noticed but if you don't do it the right way, you can stand out for all the wrong reasons.
One of the most important things we can tell you is to dress professionally as you would for an interview. We actually talked to one of our members, Patrick, on our blog who told us that he used to work for a hotel and when people would come in to drop off an application or to follow up, he had to write on their application what they were wearing and how they presented themselves. You never know when you'll be asked to interview. It could be right on the spot and you don't want to be left unprepared so bring along a resume too.
Following up can be scary. Trust me, I know. But it's a great way to set you apart from the competition.