How to Ask if a Job Is Filled by Writing a Letter

by Mary Wroblewski, Demand Media
    End your suspense by writing a courteous letter.

    End your suspense by writing a courteous letter.

    In business, sometimes it is less obtrusive and more professional to write a letter than to make a phone call. Such is often the case if you’ve applied for a job but haven’t been notified whether it has been filled. Writing a courteous, non-pushy letter of inquiry is the perfect solution, for it can underscore that you are genuinely interested in the position. Your written reminder also serves to keep your name in front of the hiring manager in case a decision hasn’t been made. Keep your letter short and concise, demonstrating that you are a conscientious professional who appreciates the value of follow-up.

    Step 1

    Direct your letter to the person you interviewed with, even if this person has indicated that a higher-level manager makes hiring decisions. At best, going over your contact’s head might reflect poorly on your judgment; at worst, it might be viewed as insulting.

    Step 2

    Begin your letter with a friendly statement of purpose. You might say, for example: “I am writing to kindly inquire about the status of your search for a new office manager, the position for which I interviewed on July 15."

    Step 3

    Segue with ease to a restatement of your interest in the position. You might say, “Since then, I have become even more enthused about this position and my ability to make valuable contributions to ABC Company."

    Step 4

    Briefly summarize your qualifications, being certain to review the job description and to cite the predominant professional and personal qualifications listed. If you previously wrote a thank-you letter following the interview, be sure you don’t repeat yourself word for word.

    Step 5

    Ask the recipient to call or send you an e-mail about the status of the search. Include your contact information. You might say, for example, “I would greatly appreciate a quick update on your search when it is most convenient for you to either call or e-mail me.” Include your contact information, of course.

    Step 6

    Thank the recipient for her time and efforts. You might add, once more, that you look forward to hearing from her soon.

    Step 7

    Close your letter with the professional “Sincerely” and sign it below. Avoid the overly personal “Best” or “Best regards.”

    Tips

    • Be absolutely certain that your letter is flawless. Read it at least twice for spelling and grammar and, if you can, ask a trusted and articulate friend to read it, too.
    • Crossing the line from being curious to “pushy” is often in the eyes of the beholder. However, even if the hiring manager promised that she would make a hiring decision by a date that has come and gone, don’t remind her of it. Most people would probably view such a reminder as pushy, indeed.

    About the Author

    Mary Wroblewski has been writing professionally since 1994 for publications such as "Woman's Day," "The Chicago Tribune," "The Chicago Sun-Times" and "Crain's Chicago and New York Business." She has a B.S. in mass communication from Illinois State University and a M.A. in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images