How to Follow Up on a Job Application

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"I'm tired of submitting a resume and hearing nothing back."

Does this sound familiar? We have found that most job seekers can relate to this sentiment, and that one of their biggest challenges is that they are experiencing the all too common "resume black hole" issue. We wish we knew exactly how many job seekers followed up in another way outside of simply applying to a job posting online. We can tell you, however, that taking one additional outreach measure is not a common job seeker protocol, yet it can make a huge difference in being considered for a position.


When you ask people "what was the most successful strategy you found for identifying job prospects that actually resulted in an interview?" you will likely hear a response such as:

  1. "I connected with a Recruiter who presented several relevant opportunities to me."
  2. "I leveraged my network to get my resume in the hands/inbox of the right person/people to help me." 
  3. "I reached out directly to the person supporting the hiring efforts for that opportunity."

Various studies over the last 5 years have all reported that less than 10% of applications via a company's website ever get seen by a Recruiter or other member of the hiring team. As a job seeker, one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is to try and connect directly with the individual responsible for staffing/hiring that role. That is likely the:

  1. Corporate Recruiter, Talent Acquisition Specialist or Talent Manager at the company
  2. Recruiter, Staffing Specialist, or Talent Specialist at a Staffing firm

(SIDE NOTE: These are the main job titles we have seen for these individuals, and they may vary depending on the industry and company).

But how exactly can you get connected with these folks (outside of applying via a website and hoping someone sees your resume and reaches out)? Here are our top 3 suggestions we have seen be successful around this recommended "Outreach Protocol!"

Scenario #1 – Outreach protocol for a job posted is for a Staffing/Recruiting Firm

The job of the Recruiters at a staffing firm is to speak with job seekers. If we can't rely on them to always see our applications, we can certainly reach out to them directly. Do a quick online search to find the phone number of the local staffing firm, and call in to speak to a Recruiter.

EXAMPLE A: Here are a few scripts for calling Recruiters:

  1. "My name is Mark Jackson, and I'm a Project Manager currently looking for my next job opportunity. May I speak to the Recruiter who supports staffing for any Project Manager roles?"
  2. "I'm Mark Jackson. I was just laid off, and I'm in the job market. I saw you have a few Project Management jobs posted on your website. How can I get connected to the Recruiter staffing for those roles?"
  3. "My name is Mark Jackson, and I am looking for a Project Manager role. I am very interested in a technical Project Manager role you have posted. The Requisition # is 12345. Can you transfer me to the person who is hiring for that role?"

These are all pretty short and sweet, which is the goal! Make sure to include your name, your situation, the types of jobs you are targeting, and the Job/Requisition # if you have one from a job they have posted on their website.

Scenario #2 – Outreach protocol if you know someone who works at the Company

Say you come across a job at a non-staffing firm in your area, and you know someone who works there. Maybe it's a past colleague or a member of the local SQL Server User Group/Meetup. Even if it is someone you have only met a handful of times, don't be shy about reaching out. If you have their phone number or email, you can contact them that way. If not, you can send them a message via Meetup or LinkedIn.

EXAMPLE B: Message to a common connection/member of your network who works at the company

Hello, Sam! I'm looking for a new job, and I see a Power BI Specialist role posted at your company. Do you happen to know the Manager for that role? If I sent you my resume, would you be willing to pass it along to that Manager or a Recruiter at your organization? Thanks in advance for any guidance or help in pursuing a role at your company!

Thank you,

Erica Woods

Scenario #3 - Outreach protocol for a non-staffing firm where you do not know anyone who works there

There are two approaches you can take in the situation where you see a job posted for a company you are interested in where you do not know anyone who works there, and you have no first degree LinkedIn connections who work there.

First, you reach out to the Recruiters at the staffing firms that you have speaking to who you like and directly ask them "Do you have a contract with ABC Company?" and if they do, ask "Are you supporting the Manager who has an opening for a _____?"

Second, visit one of your job searching best friends, LinkedIn, and do an advanced search to identify a member of their internal talent acquisition team. Go to the ‘People' search, and then select the following boxes:

  1. Select the name of the company in the "Current Company" box
  2. Add in "Locations"
  3. In the "Title" box, write out "Recruiter" or "Talent Acquisition" or "Talent Manager"

Example Screen Shot from LinkedIn:

filter people linkedin
filter people linkedin

Once this populates results, send a message to an individual who appears to be the right person, i.e. a Corporate Recruiter/Talent Acquisition professional at that company locally, to let them know you are interested in working at their company and for a specific type of role.

EXAMPLE C: Message to a Corporate Recruiter/Talent Acquisition Specialist

Good morning, Sarah! I'm a Senior Data Architect, and I'm very interested in an opening you have posted on your website for a similar role (Job ID is 12345). Is that position still available? What is the best approach for applying? I have over 10 years of data architecture in enterprise level environments with SQL Server. You can see several recommendations from Managers and clients via my LinkedIn profile.

I look forward to hopefully scheduling a time to discuss this with you! I'm available to speak typically after 4pm ET, and my phone number is 111-222-3333.

Thank you,

Erica Woods

Next Steps

As you are job searching now or in the future, remember that you can't rely on applying for a job you see posted on a website and expect that your resume/application will get seen. The average posting gets over 450 applications, and less than 5-10% of applications will get viewed by a Recruiter. Therefore, take one additional outreach measure and try to get connected with someone who is responsible for the hiring of that role!

Is the position at a staffing firm? Find the phone number for the local office, call in, explain your situation quickly and ask to be transferred to the Recruiter who supports your skill set or target role/s!

Ask yourself "Do I know anyone who works at this company?" If you do, reach out to them via email, phone, Meetup message or LinkedIn message and inquire if they know about that opening, and if they could possibly pass along your resume directly to the Manager!

If you do not know anyone who works there, and it isn't a staffing firm, you can either 1.) reach out to the Recruiter(s) at the staffing firms you have been in contact with and ask "Do you support this company? The Manager who has this opening?" OR 2.) do an advanced LinkedIn search and send a LinkedIn message to one of the company's Talent Acquisition team members if you identify one!

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Erica Woods Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

View all my tips

Comments For This Article

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - 11:11:26 AM - Erica Woods Back To Top (91907)
Absolutely, so glad the advice has been helpful, Arun!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - 1:12:18 AM - Arun Mandal Back To Top (91900)
Dear Erica,

I want to express my gratitude for the insightful tips you've shared. Your posts have proven invaluable during my job search, enlightening me on aspects I was previously unaware of. Your content has been instrumental in my learning journey, and I sincerely appreciate the knowledge you've imparted.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 4:49:55 PM - Erica Woods Back To Top (91010)
Thanks, Ritesh! Sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things. The biggest opportunities are to continue to prospect/identify NOT just jobs, but Recruiters, local tech groups/meetups, and other networking channels, and proactively reach out. Most "active" jobs aren't even posted/published, it's just in the queue for a Recruiter/Talent Advocate/Talent Acquisition Specialist. So don't be shy about searching for Recruiters on LinkedIn and reaching out to them. You can also ask the organizers of any local tech groups you're active in to connect you with any Recruiters who are engaged with the group!

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 2:35:12 PM - Ritesh Sridhar Back To Top (91005)
Erica, this is a great blog. Thanks for posting great tips on how to find our next role. I am currently in the market reaching out to people, building my network and also applying for roles as many as possible.
I am already following most of the tips which you have mentioned in the post and sometimes I still feel it's hard to get a response from a person/company where you don't have any links but interested to apply for a position.
But I will keep my hopes up, follow some of the great tips you have mentioned and continue applying for the positions.


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