Submitting a job application feels good, but hearing back from the employer feels even better! Unfortunately, each day that passes without a response adds a bit of anxiety, and you start to wonder if you’ll ever hear back.
In this article, you’ll learn how long it takes to hear back after submitting a resume, and what you can do to boost your odds of getting responses in less time.
Let’s get started…
It typically takes one to two weeks to hear back after applying for a job. An employer may respond faster if the job is a high priority, or if they’re a small and efficient organization. It can also occasionally take longer for an employer to respond to a job application or resume submission.
It’s possible to wait three or four weeks and then still hear back from the employer with positive news. This can happen when an employer was busy with other business objectives, was setting a new hiring budget at the start of the year, had a few key employees on vacation and unable to interview you, or a number of other reasons.
However, this isn’t particularly common. I recommend that after two weeks, you assume the company won’t be calling. That way, you can focus on applying for more positions and getting in touch with other employers.
Also, you can follow up if you want… Especially if you had specific reasons for wanting the position or feeling like you were qualified.
In general, I don’t recommend following up on every job application. (Whereas I do recommend following up after each interview). However, you can pick and choose which applications can to check on after two weeks.
To summarize how long it takes to get a response from a job: If an employer is interested, you will usually hear back within two weeks of submitting a resume. It can happen faster, and occasionally, it may take longer if an employer has other priorities at the time of your application.
The single most important thing to do while waiting to hear back about a job is to continue applying for more positions. Waiting for one single employer will only increase your anxiety and reduce the number of options you have in your job search, which can cause you to stay unemployed for longer.
Employers typically interview 6-10 candidates per job. They also frequently put jobs on hold, decide to promote someone internally, change what they’re looking for mid-search, etc.
The point is: There are too many uncontrollable factors in a job hunt, and it’s risky to wait for one single employer after applying for a job.
In fact, even if you went on an interview and are pretty sure it went well, you should STILL keep applying for jobs.
My rule is: Don’t stop applying until you’ve signed a job offer and set a start date. Most job seekers don’t follow this, and they end up making their job search take weeks or months longer than it needed to be.
So the #1 thing NOT to do when you’re waiting to hear back about a job is to stop applying, wait anxiously by your phone or email, and put your fate in the hands of one single employer. That is just a recipe for disappointment and potential disaster.
We covered how long it takes to get a response from a job after you apply, as well as what you should do when you’re waiting to hear back from a company.
Now I want to give you a couple of ways to boost your chances of hearing back and shorten the waiting time!
First, make sure you fine-tune and customize your resume for each job you apply to.
Employers receive a lot of resumes, and they’re more likely to respond (and respond FAST) if they see that you’re a great fit for their specific needs.
That’s what employers are thinking when you apply… “Can this person come in and be successful in this role? And how long will they take to get up to speed?”
So tailoring your resume is how you show them you’re ready to succeed!
How do you figure out their specific needs? The job description is the best place to start.
Next, try to get introduced to employers through your network. This article explains some basics of job search networking.
You should be talking to your existing network to find out what they know and who they know (like hiring managers, specific companies who are hiring, etc.)
And, also consider connecting with new people on LinkedIn or in other ways.
Start by asking something small, like, “Hi Bethany. I saw you joined IBM two years ago. How have you liked the work environment since joining?”
That can open the door to building some rapport and trust, and asking for an introduction to a hiring manager!
So those are two effective ways to reduce the average wait time after applying for a job, and more importantly – to get a higher response rate overall.
To wrap up, I just want to make it clear that your resume is the main thing to focus on if you want more interviews. Sure, there are other factors. I go into more detail in my article with the top reasons you can’t find a job.
But… your resume has one goal: To get you invited to interview.
So if you’re submitting a lot of applications and not hearing back from any employers, it’s a sign that your resume might not be great (yet).
Fortunately, I’ve written a couple of helpful tutorials you can use to improve your resume quickly, based on my experience as a recruiter. Here are the resources I recommend starting with:
And here are 11 common resume mistakes to avoid.
That should give you a good foundation, and cover the most crucial sections that recruiters and hiring managers look at first!
If you want more help, this page has 100+ free articles on how to optimize your resume and get more interviews.
It takes a long time to hear back from a job application because employers receive many applications because hiring managers have many priorities aside from hiring in a given week.
For example, a hiring manager may also be managing their existing team, doing employee meetings, setting new goals and initiatives for the department, etc.
So while finding a job may be your top priority, hiring isn’t always a manager’s top priority in a given week; it’s just one of many priorities for them.
Recruiters don’t have all of these additional responsibilities, but often recruit for multiple jobs and sometimes need a couple of days or more to sort through the high number of applications received.
You now know how long it takes to hear back or get a response after submitting a resume (on average). And while it will always take a bit of time for employers to look through your application and respond, you can get responses more often and more quickly by tailoring your resume and getting introduced to employers through networking.
I covered these tips throughout the article above, so if you scrolled down to the bottom and skipped most of the article, I’d recommend taking a closer look.
Also, taking time to improve your resume in general… especially the most important resume sections (like employment history, bullets, and summary paragraph), will help you get more interviews than anything else.
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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