I was looking at this guide for writing a cover letter.

It suggests that the final paragraph should:

Included information on how you plan to follow up to schedule an interview after they receive your resume

I'm not sure if I agree with this recommendation as I think it might come across as a bit pushy.

Is this actually a good recommendation that I should consider, and why (or why not)?

  • I think it can come as pushy indeed if spelled wrong. It probably would take me an hour or two and a couple of drafts to state my "plan to follow up" properly – gnat Nov 15 '12 at 10:39
  • Is this actually a good recommendation that I should consider? Is not a constructive question. What is the actual problem you are facing here? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 15 '12 at 21:58

This advice was very popular two decades ago with sales letters. You were supposed to send paper letters to strangers like this:

Dear Complete Stranger,

Have you ever worried about A Common Problem Everyone Faces? Well with Our Exciting Product, you can achieve A Major Savings or Some Other Big Benefit. I know it seems impossibly amazing, but it's real.

I'm enclosing A Glossy Brochure That Has More Details, and I will call you on the 17th to arrange an interview so that I can demonstrate the product to you in person.

And then, the books would exhort the would-be-sales-superstar, you MUST call on the 17th. You must follow through on your promise! Doing so will show them what a great and trustworthy person you are, and they will buy the product.

Seems like whoever is writing your cover letter advice has this model in mind. If I got a written application for a job that included "I will call you in three days to schedule the interview" I would not be happy. I might not discard that candidate as a result, but it would feel overly pushy. When I'm hiring, I schedule the interviews, thanks. When I'm not hiring but the applicant is trying to find that "hidden job market", I want to be able to file or toss the letter if I'm really not hiring, or reply to it if I am, but I am not interested in being pestered by someone who is "following up" just because the letter didn't inspire me to act, or even just didn't inspire me to act yet.


I personally prefer to thank them, reiterate my contact info, and indicate the response I hope for in the last paragraph, e.g.:

"Thank you for taking the time to review my resume and consider me for (the role). You can contact me with any questions you may have at email@address.com or on my mobile at 555-555-1212. I am looking forward to speaking with (company) about how I can help (the department or project) succeed during a phone-screen or on-site interview."

I try to make it less generic, of course, but that's the general format I use. Basically, I'm outlining their next steps and putting the information they need for those steps right in front of them so they can follow up without a second thought.

It's a similar idea, except you are empowering them to take the action you want from them instead of taking control directly - which can feel pushy or manipulative. Influence and empowerment is almost always better than control or manipulation in the long run.

If you don't hear from them in a couple of days, a quick "wanted to be sure you had received my application" email is an entirely appropriate follow-up, even without telling them that you will be following up first. If you do end up needing to write a follow-up note, you absolutely should slip in a line like "I really think my (skills and talents that are relevant to the job) would be great for (the company), and want to make sure my application didn't get lost or submitted incorrectly." You can also throw in something about why you want to work at that company - mention some company values or exciting projects to show that you've done your research and are really interested in them specifically. However, I've found that I've never had to do this. These days, the interview process is usually semi-automated so that applications don't slip through the cracks as much.


Don't state you're going to follow-up and ask for an interview. Indicate you want to make sure the resume was received. Maybe even to find out the timeframe of the interview process.

This was a good idea when you had to snail mail your resume. You just wanted to make sure the post office didn't lose it. The real motive is to make contact and show them some initiative. If you email an individual, it is a good practice to now see if they got if, but is this person on vacation or something that may delay what you think is a normal amount of time to start interviews.


I've seen this more often when you are contacting the company without an advertised position as opposed to when you are responding to specific job advertisement. If you are applying for a sales job, I think it would be viewed as more important because it shows sales skills (you are trying to close the sale with this statement).

However, as long as you don't sound arrogant about it, I can't think of why anyone would be offended or mark you off their list. However, if you say you will follow-up on a particular day and you do not that can become a big-red flag that you are not reliable. So if you do it, maintain a calendar of companies and the follow up date you told them so that you do follow-up.


It is not a bad recommendation as such, though it is something extra - that is, optional.

The idea is to let the company know that you plan to follow up and how - it gives them a chance to respond directly if the timing or manner you plan to follow up with is not suitable.

It also shows them that you are serious about the job.

If you do later on follow up in the manner and on time, it shows you mean what you say and that you follow through.

In general - anything that gives you a better chance to secure an interview is a good thing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.