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How to follow up on a resume submitted online

Q: I've applied for a few jobs through an online application system and I'm able to check the status of my application. However, they all still currently say "Application Received." I know from someone who works at this company that the next step is "Under Review." Is there anything I can do to get the HR manager to take a look at my application?

A: More and more companies are automating their candidate selection process. Many larger employers use online application systems. These application systems sometimes require a candidate to complete an online “fill in the box” application. Other systems receive resumes via a centralized email address and scan the resumes into a candidate tracking system. It is helpful to know that your online application was received. However, from a candidate’s perspective, you want to know more. Not only do you want to know more, but the sooner the better! To a candidate, days of waiting feel like weeks of waiting!

You mention that you have an internal contact at this company. This contact could be very valuable to you. It would be helpful to better understand what the typical timeframe is between the “Application Received” to “Under Review?” Is it 10 days? 21 days? Or is it never for candidates of no interest? Your friend may be able to find out more information about these timeframes.

Additionally, can your friend put in a good word for you? Can your contact perhaps email the HR manager recommending you as a candidate? If your contact at this company is a former colleague, this may be very helpful to your candidacy.

Do you know others at this company? Have you scoured your LinkedIn connections and other professional contacts to determine if there are others that could be helpful in your search?

Recommendations carry weight. Recommendations coming from former colleagues or supervisors can be especially persuasive.

Lastly, you could email the HR manager asking for an update. This may be risky because you don't want to irritate the HR manager. I would recommend that the tone of this email be courteous, professional and demonstrate interest in the company and in the role.

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