How to follow up after sending your CV

You did it. You overcame first send nerves and your golden ticket to career enhancement now rests in the hands of the cyberspace gods. Wait a minute though; that CV was emailed weeks ago and your inbox (and obsessively checked spam folder) still awaits an employer response that goes beyond the generic 'thank you for your application.' Wondering how to escape this limbo? Then read our trusty advice on how to follow up after sending your CV.

How long should you wait?

Though the hour glass may be spilling sand over your job hopes, employers have no obligation to reply to your enquiry before those grains run out. In fact, some candidates will be preaching miracle if they ever get a response at all. 

The widely accepted convention is to wait at least two weeks before embarking on any kind of follow up quest. While it's inconceivable that your CV wasn't immediately printed, laminated and passed directly to the CEO, people are busy and replying to your application will seldom be considered a cause for company urgency. 

Conversely, the internet is good, but it's not quite *brand name censored* and communications can very easily get lost in the information highway's very own Bermuda Triangle. Therefore, waiting two weeks before making further contact will enable you to re-enter the company's consciousness whilst avoiding the same unfortunate meme fate as 'overly attached girlfriend.' 

What form should the follow up take?

I implore you to resist the urge to descend onto the company's head offices and cause a scene. Yes, you'll certainly make an impact, but i'm afraid the authorities may just see things the same way. 

A friendly but inquisitive email is typically the follow up form of choice, but there's no guarantee that this will be read or at least by the right person. Most job adverts will list a contact name and email address, however it's also worth noting that some ads will explicitly discourage any kind of CV chasing.

It's not completely unheard of to pick up the phone and speak to a real life person (remember them?), but you'll find that employers are generally too 'busy' and won't take kindly to being disrupted by overly-eager job seekers. Social media therefore (preferably LinkedIn as opposed to Tinder) can provide a less intrusive line of enquiry. If you've connected with an employer then sending them a polite message isn't the biggest candidate faux pas, just make sure you've tidied up your profiles first!

Oh, and what about the trusty pen and paper? Well if ink inscribed prose was good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for you. As emails have become the new junk mail, a physical letter can stand you out from the crowd. Be sure to include an email address or phone number though as employers want a swift engagement, not a pen pal. 

What to ask

Once two weeks have been crossed from your calendar and you've been rightly encouraged to put the carrier pigeon back in it's cage, it's time to get some answers. I wouldn't for one moment make any grammatical guarantees, but you might wish to include some of the following questions in your Wildean correspondence:

  • Did you receive my application?
  • Was my CV sent to the correct person?
  • Will all candidates be informed of the outcome?
  • Do you require any further information?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • What would win in a race; Usain Bolt or super fast broadband? 

Okay, perhaps the last one should be asked with some caution, but the others will get you the information you crave (if you do indeed get a response). 

The follow up (which is a fantastic name for a film btw) is another chance to reiterate why you're good for the job; just don't overdo it! You should already have sold yourself well enough in your CV, so just use this opportunity to merely reiterate you passion *cough* for whatever this next stepping stone is. 

Sending your CV should be the hard part but the uncertainty of what follows can prove to be even more arduous. The digital age has made us slightly intolerant towards anything beyond instant recognition, but sometimes patience can prove to be the best policy. Just remember though, that like reheating chicken, you should follow up ONLY ONCE!

Good luck in your job pursuits!