How to Follow Up After Submitting a Resume for a Tech Job

Say you've found an IT job you'd like to apply for. You've worked on your resume and had other people proofread it, and you've revised your cover letter until it's just right. Then you send it all in.

Do you just sit back and wait for the employer to call you?

Make Sure You Follow Up On Your Resume

Man making business call
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Actually, most tech recruiters will tell you it's best to follow up with the employer. Following up shows that you're truly interested in the position, and not just blasting your resume out to hundreds of companies, in the hopes that someone will bite. It also demonstrates that you're willing to take an extra step to make your interest clear to the employer.

How Long Should You Wait to Follow Up On Your Resume?

Recruiters have different opinions on this. A Yahoo! HotJobs survey found that most recruiters (53 percent) suggested contacting the employer one week after you've sent in your resume. Another 21 percent said you should wait less than a week, while eight percent said you should wait two weeks. Then there are those (19 percent) who said you should not follow up and instead wait for the employer to call you.

If in doubt, stick with the one-week rule. By that time, the employer has received enough resumes to have some sort of idea of what the candidate pool looks like but probably hasn't moved on to later decision-making stages. Following up could cause a busy tech employer to look through that stack of resumes again and pull yours out to give it a second look - and perhaps call you in for an interview.

Resume Follow Up Methods

You can follow up on your resume submission either via email or by calling the employer.

If you opt for email:

  • Make sure your subject line includes your name and the position you're applying for, e.g., "System Administrator position – John Smith." Avoid vague subject lines like "following up."
  • Keep the email short and sweet, restating your interest in the job and your qualifications. Thank the person for his or her time and include your contact information.
  • Re-attach your resume to save the hiring manager the trouble of digging out your resume, or copy and paste it into the body of the email for easier viewing.
  • Proofread the email before sending it out.

If you choose to call the employer:

  • Practice what you're going to say ahead of time.
  • Keep your message short and polite, stating your name, the fact that you sent in your resume recently and which position you were applying for. Mention that you're still interested and that you are following up to find out what stage in the hiring process the employer is at.
  • Try to talk to someone in person, if possible, before you decide to leave a message.

Things to Avoid When Following Up On Your Resume

  • Keep in mind that following up over the phone is not a good idea if the job posting specifically says "no phone calls." In these cases, stick to email.
  • Don't just follow up to ask if the employer received your resume. Use the opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and how you could contribute your skills to the company.
  • Don't bug the employer with repeated emails and phone calls. One follow-up is usually enough. If you haven't heard back at all after the first attempt, that may be a sign that it's time to move on. But if you do get a response saying the employer is still in the candidate selection process, you may want to follow up one more time.