It’s a tale as old as online form applications. You fill out the same god damn information about yourself (has anyone invented an app yet that can store and input this information on repeat?!), write a thoughtful cover letter using the appropriate amount of buzzwords from the job description, double check your social media to make sure all your tagged photos are appropriate, and hit send.
And then you wait. And wait. And wait. Sometimes forever.
Not even a “thank you for applying, but we went in a different direction” automated email. Nothing like being ghosted by a Fortune 100 company.
It’s been over five years since I last applied for a “traditional” job and I remember painstakingly waiting to hear what was going on with my application. Did they even receive it? Did I make it past the auto filters into a real live person’s inbox? Is the position even still available or did they go with an internal hire and just list the opening to fill some corporate red tape requirement?
As seems almost fair and natural, I would talk to my friends and complain endlessly about employers who didn’t take the time to respond to “no thank you” job applications. How hard can it be to send a two-line email?! Don’t make me wait! Seriously, at least let me know what’s going on so I can let go of the idea of working in your super swanky downtown startup?
Now, as an employer, the tides have turned and I sort of hate to say it, but I TOTALLY GET IT. When trying to fill a position you might receive dozens (or hundreds - at a larger company!) of applications. My job, in addition to keeping my entire business running, is to use the limited amount of time I have to narrow my search down to the best candidates as quickly as possible.
While I do think it is a nice courtesy to drop people a line and thank them for applying even if I’m not interested in a conversation, it is absolutely not necessary and unfortunately not my priority.
This has been a hugely eye-opening mindset shift for me and has changed how I think about pursuing work.
If for some godforsaken reason I was applying for a “regular” job through an online portal (I genuinely hope and expect that I will NEVER have to do this again!) and hadn’t heard back but was expecting a response, I would be contacting the right people at the company until I did. None of the waiting and whining I used to do. I would take control of the situation in an attempt to influence the outcome.
What does reaching out do for your new potential employer? Sure, there’s a possibility they might be annoyed that you’re contacting them, but what do you have to lose? If they already weren’t going to hire you they already weren’t going to hire you soooooo….
Worst case scenario: nothing changes, and you’ve done your very best.
Best case scenario: you stand out the crowd! You’ve shown this person that you are seriously interested in the job, willing to hustle, not afraid to reach out and let someone know what you want, and that you’re willing to follow up for as long as it takes to get a job done. I can’t even tell you how blown away I’d be if someone took the time to find my phone number, call me, and let me know how thrilled they are at the idea of working with me. I’d certainly pay attention to their application.
Hiring managers, general managers, entrepreneurs are all extremely busy people and while applying for a new job might be your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, you have to understand that it is very unlikely theirs.
A gentle, friendly check-in note will never do any harm. (If someone is offended or bothered by your followup they honestly sound like a terrible person to work for and you’re dodging a major bullet. Or maybe that’s just me?)
Anyway, if I were doing it, here’s what I’d write:
Hello Hiring Person,
I’m sure you are busy, but I wanted to follow up on the status of your job search for [position]. I can’t stop thinking about how I’d love to dig into [a responsibility you’re excited about from the job post] by [1-2 creative ways you’d attack the problem.]
Hope to hear from you soon to set up a call to further discuss how I can use my [x, y, and z skills] to achieve the business objectives of [your company].
All the best,
Good luck in your job search, and if you happen to be interested in a job as a General Manager, Freelance Event Planner, or Social Media Associate, check out our job postings over at Alchemy Events.