Here's a brief scenario:

  1. I applied for a job on the originally determined application deadline date
  2. In my cover letter I said that I would follow up two weeks from that date
  3. The application deadline was later extended by 10 days
  4. The date on which I'd promised to follow up is here, but the application deadline has just barely passed.

The Dilemma: Is it too soon to follow up, even though I'd previously said that I would?

  • 1
    For the future, don't put when you would follow up in the cover letter. It is unlikely to help you get a job which is the purpose of the cover letter. Companies do care if you followup appropriately but having dealt with stalker-types, I would rather have someone wait for my decision than call me daily starting on a set scheddule of when they think I should have made a decision. One or at most two follow-ups are appropriate. Any more than that and you look desperate and become annoying. – HLGEM Jul 29 '13 at 19:31
  • If they extended the application deadline it probably means they didn't get enough responses, or they didn't get any they liked. If the first is true, responding on time is highly recommended - you may be all they've got. If the second is true, when you respond won't matter. – Meredith Poor Jul 29 '13 at 19:52
  • possible duplicate of Should follow-up be promised in a cover letter? – user9158 Jul 30 '13 at 5:31

Go ahead and follow up when you said you would. Also acknowledge that you realize the date has been extended and they may not be as far along in the process as they would have been without the extension.

This way you honor our commitment, but also show that you are keeping up with the process and are aware of ongoing changes.

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This is a Catch-22 situation where I could see issues either way:

  1. If you don't follow-up, then you are someone that will say one thing and not do it. This would be a dangerous precedent. Thus, it may make sense to follow-up and see if there is an updated timeline for when you'd hear something.

  2. If you do follow-up now, then there may be little for the company to tell you. Thus, they are going to say, "It's in process. We'll update you when we have something." While you may be seen as a pest, at least you did follow through.

  3. If you wait 10 days and follow-up then, it may a way to split the difference between when you said you'd follow-up and the timing in the process overall at this point. This could be a useful compromise though it is a week and a half later than when you said you'd contact them so that blow could still apply. You could retort that because the deadline changed, you figured that you'd update when you would contact for a follow-up by that same time period.

At least those are the choices I see and how each may go poorly. If you do follow-up with them now, I'd be tempted to inquire if the process being delayed was a one time thing or if it is common for that to happen. While this may seem like a simple question, it may be useful to have the answer that delays are common and so after your interview you may have this again assuming you have an interview.

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  • 1
    While I think it is a bad idea to say you will follow-up in the cover letter, once you have done so, you need to do what you promised when you promised. At least it will show you are concientious. Yes there might not be anything to tell you, but blowing off the committment looks worse. – HLGEM Jul 29 '13 at 19:33
  • I had never promised to respond in any cover letters before this one. Only did that at a recommendation of a friend who used to work in HR. Might reconsider for next time around. It does make for extra hassle. – wolfsweat Jul 29 '13 at 19:55

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