What Do I Do After I Submit an Online Application?


After submitting an online application for a job, you may feel like it’s been sent into oblivion. Like it or not, an online application plays a major role in job hunting today.

While they’re convenient for the employer, but from a job searcher’s perspective, they can be frustrating.

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    With so much uncertainty, how can you keep your peace of mind and increase the probability of getting a job interview? There are steps you can take to follow up. Use these persistent but polite strategies for what to do after you submit an online application for a job.

    How to Keep Your Sanity After Submitting an Online Application

    These first 4 tips will help save your sanity as you wait for the next steps in your job search.

    1. Think Strategically About the Follow Up.

    You may be unsure about how to follow up and how often to follow up. There are two schools of thought: 1. If you follow up too much, you look desperate or annoying. 2. Don’t follow up and you could be easily forgotten.

    But there’s a third option: Follow up based on the type of company you are applying to and the type of job you want.

    For example, if you are applying for a job with a global workforce of 10,000+, you may just have to wait it out. Just let it go and keep applying.

    If you sent an online application to a small company with Human Resources office, or you can contact the hiring manager, then you can send a friendly follow-up.

    If you are obsessing about when and how to follow up, this study might give you some clarity.

    The Job Affirmations approach would be to send your application and intentions into the universe and move on. Let the universe work its magic and have faith that a great opportunity is on its way to you.

    2. Keep Things Real

    When you apply for a job, imagine 200-300 people applying for the same job.

    It’s easy to feel shunned when you see policies about no calls about the job. But if the company had to answer 500 calls a day about job openings, no one would get hired. Avoid taking it personally.

    A job referral from someone already working for the company will boost the chances of you getting a job interview. This article gives you 11 strategies and a script for how to get job referrals.

    3. Keep Moving Forward

    Climbing stairs and a job search rely on you to keep putting one foot in front of another. When submitting an online application, you have to keep going.

    Once you’ve put forth your best effort for this application, switch your attention to other opportunities. Having multiple options will help you stay motivated.

    Keep networking for leads, stay organized and fine-tune your resume and cover letter for the next job application. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on your goals. If you need help setting goals, here are 6 tips to get you started.

    4. Go with the Flow

    Rejection sucks. I wrote about my own job rejection letter and what to do about it here. But even if you don’t receive a job offer, look for other benefits.

    Ask the hiring manager into your LinkedIn network. See if you know mutual people in the industry and go to lunch.

    Many times rejection is the universe’s way of protecting you from the wrong direction. I have applied to jobs I thought I wanted. I even threw a pity party after being rejected. Later I find out the company is downsizing or the person I thought would be my new boss has left the company.

    Be flexible about what you will gain from the experience and keep going.

    How to Increase Your Chances Getting an Interview

    There are a few things that will set you apart from the competition. Some of them are common sense but try to do as many of these for each online application that you submit.

    1. Act Fast

    The name of the online application game is speed. Monitor the job listings from the companies that you want to work for. Check out this page for a growing list of the top company’s career websites.

    You want to apply within the first week of the job posting to have the best chances of getting noticed. But having an employee referral is the best way to get noticed.

    Note if there’s a close date on the job notice. If not, anywhere from 5 to 10 days is usually a reasonable window for confirming your application.

    2. Be Prepared

    Outline your thoughts before making contact with the employer. You want to sound as articulate and thorough as possible. This prep work will also come in handy if a recruiter calls for a phone screen.

    Study the company, get the basics, but most importantly gather your thoughts on how you fit with the company. How does your prior experience translate to the job you applied for? Why do you want to work there? What do you bring to the table that makes you valuable?

    For how to answer tricky and the most common interview questions, read this post.

    3. Go Snail Mail

    After submitting an online application, you can send one in the mail using an envelope like this one.

    When appropriate, sending a hard copy of your application to the hiring manager. You may get a second chance to get his or her attention.

    Be sure to use resume paper and format your resume and cover letter correctly.

    Study the company’s values and culture before you send a letter. For instance, you may want to think twice if you are applying to an environmental organization that prides itself on being paper-free or a tech company that might think that paper is old-fashioned.

    4. Make Your Online Application Personal

    If possible, research the company in advance so you can address your application to a specific person. Afterwards, continue using your network to identify other company personnel you could consult with.

    5. Juggle Multiple Offers

    Congratulations if you receive a competing job offer while you’re application is pending.

    Depending on the other company, you may want to ask it about the hiring schedule so you can make a decision or withdraw from consideration.

    Chances are you will not have two offers simultaneously, but this move can help with salary negotiations. You can do a gut check and assess if you really want the offer, or you want to see a better offer come along.

    You are the boss of your career. If you need the sure thing, then don’t bother juggling. If you are not sure about the offer or you can wait for the right one to come along, then go with that.

    Looking for a job can be stressful, but you can take some of the uncertainty out of submitting an online application. Skillful follow-up gives you the confidence of knowing that you’ve done everything you could. Good luck and hit submit.

    Tracey Lamphere

    Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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