Your Follow Up Emails to the Hiring Manager Won't Get You the Job

Sending follow up after follow up won't help you get a job interview. If I want to hire you, I won’t forget about you.

Dear Job Applicant,

Thank you for submitting your resume. Yes, I got it. I even read it too. If it’s been more than a month since you applied and you haven’t heard from me, it’s safe to say that you won’t be getting an interview.

This is for one of three reasons:

  • You’re not qualified for the job
  • You are qualified but made an error that eliminates you from consideration (more on this below)
  • I am planning to hire someone else but it’s not a done deal yet


Please do not ask me for an update on your application. Sending me three follow up emails and a handwritten note will not make me any more inclined to hire you. It will, however, make you a pest.

To find out why so many people keep hounding the hiring manager, I asked career expert Alison Green, whose book, Ask a Manager, came out this year. “There is a ton of advice out there telling people to do it,” she said. “It’s super annoying. You know they applied and you will get back to them when you get back to them."

Her advice to job applicants? “You just have to put it out of your mind.” Instead of wasting your time sending follow up after follow up, look within and figure out if your resume and cover letter show you in the best light. Are there any typos? Are there any run-on sentences or blatant grammatical errors? If not, how can you tailor your application to the next job to increase your chance of landing an interview?

The best way to do this is by being as clear and succinct as possible, all while showing how your experience and interests relate to the specific job you’re seeking. Tell me what you’re doing now, what you’ve done before, and what your education is. That’s really all I need to know.

Don’t waste your time on fancy formatting. Unless you’re applying for a position in graphic design, an eye-catching font or cartoon-style animations don’t make up for otherwise unrelated experience. I don’t need to see your picture either.


If you do get an interview, send a thank you note. Then do nothing. If one month has passed and you still haven't heard from me, look at the list above and follow the same advice: Don’t follow up again. If I want to hire you I won’t forget you.

It may take longer than you would like to hear back from me, but I promise I will—once I’ve made a decision.


The Hiring Manager

Follow Anita Hamilton on Twitter.