Following up after sending off an application

Sending off an application isn't nearly as nerve-wracking as being forced to wait weeks and months for a response. This can leave an anxious applicant unsure of whether their resume has even been seen by a hiring manager at all. When applying for high-pressure finance positions, such as accounting careers or wealth management jobs, the tension can be unbearable.

So when – and how – is it appropriate to follow up regarding a job application? Well, first off, you'll want to check on the status of your application: many companies now list the status of your application – such as "in process," or "under review" – on their hiring webpage. If you're applying for careers in finance, such as financial analyst jobs, the company you're applying to will likely host such a website.

This will help you to form the shape of your eventual communication: for example, a follow-up email would be much different depending on whether or not you know definitively if the hiring manager has seen your resume. Such a website can also help you to ascertain the email address of the individual you should be contacting. After all, you don't want to be sending your follow-up message to a manager who has no connection to the company's hiring process.

When you should follow up
It's best to allow a significant amount of time – at least a few weeks – pass before you follow up an application with an additional communication. However, there's no science to the process, so you'll have to make a judgment call based on what the company's hiring website claims and suggests.

Regardless of the job, however – whether it's a high ranking executive position or an entry level finance job – you should wait at least a few weeks before sending off a message. Most companies will leave their job listings up for at least this long, so it's fair to assume that a hiring manager hasn't yet seen your application if you've waited a few weeks without a response. 

How to follow up
Your goal should be to ensure you don't annoy the hiring manager: you don't want to sabotage your opportunity of earning a job before you're even offered an interview. For this reason, you won't want to use an obtrusive form of communication, such as a phone call, for your post-application message. Instead, you'd do best to construct an email message that underscores your interest in the position, and aims to ensure your application was received.

Courtesy is the key in this scenario – you don't want your follow up message to seem entitled, or unhappy. This is merely an opportunity to re-ascertain just how interested you are in the career at hand. So don't send it off too quickly after first submitting your application, and ensure that the message itself is as undemanding as possible.

Situations that demand a follow up
There are a few situations where a follow up email is called for: i.e., you should always send along some kind of "thank you for your interest" note following an actual interview.

However, if you have another job offer, you can use that as an impetus for a follow up, regardless of whether you've interviewed: you can tell the hiring manager that you may accept another job soon, but their position was your first choice, and you were hoping to book an interview in a time-sensitive manner.

Regardless of the scenario, when employed correctly, a follow up email sent after your application can be an integral tool in your quest to find the job that's right for you.