You found the job of your dreams and worked hard to fill out the online application. You attached your resume, provided a cover letter, and answered every question. After double checking that everything was just right, you hit submit, confident in your ability to excel in this role. But now what? What should you do after applying for a job online?
Here are several steps you can take to help you be prepared for whatever happens next.
1. Print a Copy of the Job Description
If you’re applying to multiple jobs, you really need to keep track of them all. Otherwise, you may mix things up in your mind. Then if one company calls, you might mistakenly think it’s for a different job. This can change the answers you give, and really mess up your chances of landing the job.
To avoid making this mistake, print a copy of the job description for every job you apply for online. You can either print a hard copy or use print to PDF to create a digital copy. Most computers give you the option of printing directly to PDF from within the print settings.
Once you have a copy, make sure you keep it accessible. If it’s a digital file, store it in an easy-to-access folder on your computer. Otherwise, you may not be able to find it when you need it, like when the manager gives you a call.
2. Record Some Notes
Whenever you apply for a job, take a moment to write down the following information:
- The name of the company
- Position title
- Application date
- Name of the hiring manager (if you have it)
- Resume used (if you change your resume for each position, note the specific file name)
- Date the position closes
By having this information readily available, you’ll be able to print another copy of the resume and cover letter to bring with you to an interview. That way everyone will be looking at the same paperwork. (This will also set you up to be an impressive candidate, by the way!)
3. Learn More About the Company
To help you nail a potential interview, continue learning more about the company. Take time to read any information you can find on their website. You want to know all you can about their culture, values, and mission.
Scour their blog, mission statement, and about us page. You want to see if you’d be a good fit and be able to explain why you’re the best candidate for this position.
4. Check Yourself Socially
Many hiring managers now check social media profiles for all potential candidates. Take time to check your profiles out and evaluate what you find. Are your profiles up to date? Do you have a professional-looking photograph? Is your content portraying you in a positive light or a negative one? Another way to think about it is this: would anything on your profiles offend someone with an opposite viewpoint? If so, it would probably be best to take those things down or limit their visibility to your current contacts.
If you have links on your profiles, double check them. You want to ensure everything is in order. Remember this person probably doesn’t know you personally, so your online footprint will share a lot of information.
5. Follow Up With the Hiring Manager
Since you wrote down the date the position closes, you’ll be able to follow up in a timely manner. About a week after the position closes, contact the hiring manager. This should only be done by email. Many companies that hire remote workers have voiced complaints over the years that their phones are bombarded by work-at-home applicants to the point of making it impossible to conduct normal business. This can ensure you don’t get the job.
Keep your communication to email. It’s good to get into this practice anyway as that’s how the online world works. If you have a question about your work, you send an email. When you are assigned projects, it’s communicated via email. With very few exceptions, remote work relationships are not phone-based ones. Respect the boundaries. You don’t want companies calling you non-stop.
When emailing, you can ask if they received your application materials, express your interest in the position, and inquire about a timeline for next steps.
A proper follow-up shows that you take initiative and are truly interested in working for the company. You can help ensure your name stays in their mind when reviewing application materials.
But there is a wrong way to follow up. Here are four things not to do at this stage:
- Do not appear desperate by contacting the manager too often or too quickly – they will get sick of hearing from you!
- Don’t tie up the time of the hiring manager. Keep your email short and to the point.
- Don’t email before checking your notes. You want to use the correct name, position, and company in your communications.
- Never send an email you haven’t proofread. You don’t want to send a hastily written email that’s full of errors.
With all of this being said, don’t be upset if you don’t receive a response. This may be frustrating, but it’s commonplace in the work-at-home world. Many of these companies receive thousands of applications for every job posting. It’s impossible for them to communicate with everyone. Imagine if you had thousands of applications to sort through then another thousand of follow-up emails. Be patient. It pays off.
6. Review Common Interview Questions
If you get notified that you’ve made the short list for an interview, it’s time to double down on your preparations. Look for some common interview questions for the position you applied for and think through your answers.
You can find a list of generic interview questions here. Depending on the company that you applied with, you may even be able to find a list of job-specific interview questions. Search for the position on Glassdoor.com and see if you can find anything helpful.
Once you find interview questions, take time to practice them. Ideally, you’d have someone else role play with you and ask you questions. This person can give you feedback on your answers, and having the chance to “talk through” the answers out loud will help you feel more comfortable with the whole situation.
If you don’t have anyone to help, read the question aloud and then answer orally. This will help prep your mind for the back and forth nature of an interview. You might even want to record these so you can play your answers back and get a sense of what you like and don’t like about the responses.
7. Keep Applying and Making New Contacts
Until you land the job, nothing is guaranteed. You need to keep applying and networking. This way if one opportunity doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a lot of time sitting around doing nothing.
Remember relationships are key in today’s job search. Take time to follow influencers and leaders of companies you’d like to work for on Twitter or LinkedIn. You don’t want to be a stalker, so don’t do this on the more private networks like Facebook or Instagram. The key is to get your name out there in front of managers in a non-creepy way. Interacting on public social networks helps.
Hitting submit on an application doesn’t mean you’re done with the process. Follow these tips, and help yourself stand out from the competition. Let us know here how your search is going, too!