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Many job seekers miss the one step that can land them an interview and the job they're applying for. Sure, they send in their resume or job application—they may even send the additional information requested—but many job seekers and unemployed professionals simply fail to follow up with the employers they applied to.

Why follow up? Here are five good reasons:

1. Consideration

Man follows up with an employer

Care to guess how often a resume or job application fails to get past the ATS or is not received by the right person or department? I didn't think so! Following up can ensure your resume was received so you can be considered for the job you thought you applied for.

If an employer doesn't have your information, you won't be considered. It's that simple!

2. Recognition

Woman writes a follow-up email during her job search

Any contact with an employer is a chance to stand out from the rest of the applicants. Following up will allow the employer to place a voice or face with the name. If everything else is equal, the employer will be more likely to call an applicant they've interacted with in some way other than one they have not.

Remember: you can also stand out from other job applicants by writing a disruptive cover letter.

3. Impression

Man follows up with an employer during his job search

Employers, regardless of industry, are looking for eager, proactive workers who go the extra mile. Following up is a simple way to show you meet this expectation.

4. Information

Woman contacts an employer to follow up about her job application

Following up may allow you to obtain additional information about the job, employer, or interviewer that may give you an edge in an interview.

In most cases, it's best to do your research on the company you're applying to before you submit your application. It will also help you connect with employers during your job search.

5. Interview

Man asks about an interview while following up with an employer

As you follow up with an employer after submitting your job application, you could ask to schedule an interview at their earliest convenience, if you feel like that's an appropriate question to ask at the time. Again, employers are looking for eager, proactive workers who go the extra mile. Be one!

All this seems to make sense, so why don't more applicants follow up on their resume? Usually it boils down to just one thing: fear!

It may be fear of rejection. This is often the case; job seekers have to apply for so many jobs to get an interview and finally a job offer, they come to view even non-contact as rejection. Given they are rejected virtually every time they apply for a job, most are not inclined to stick their neck out only to be further rejected. Others feel a fear of failure and worry they will not be able to conduct themselves well in a follow-up situation. What if they "flub up?" That will surely ruin any chance they might have had to be interviewed and potentially offered a job, they think.

Some job seekers even fear that they will look too pushy or bother the employer if they try to follow up. Not so! As long as you know how to correctly follow up with an employer, you won't get on their bad side.

How To Overcome Your Follow-Up Fears

Woman nervous about following up with an employer

Notice a recurring theme? A job seeker has to overcome his or her fears to apply for jobs and to follow up. So, how does a job seeker overcome his or her fears and follow up? Several things will help:

  1. Target those employers for which there is special interest and/or opportunity.
  2. Research those employers to the best of your ability.
  3. Just do it. Jump in and start calling or emailing the employers on the list, also known as the interview bucket list.
  4. If an employer does not respond by phone, try email, and vice versa.

Much like the application process, following up will provide success the more often it is done. More follow-up equals more interviews/job offer. Not that you shouldn't be smart about what you apply for or follow up on, but you should actively do both.

Remember, as a job seeker you are only looking for the one employer who is offering you the job—not those who aren't!

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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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