Should you make contact after submitting an application if they said they'd notify you? if yes, how long is too long to wait?

i submitted applications for two volunteer positions awhile ago. i think about two weeks ago? maybe three.

they both gave me the “thank you for applying; we’ll be in touch” sort of line. they’ve not been in touch. does that mean i’m ineligible/unsuited? or does that mean that i should contact them to follow up? what if too much time has passed? or maybe what if not enough time has passed? i assumed they really would contact me if i were to be selected/accepted, but the vocational person at day progamme said not necessarily.

now i’m just outright confused. why say that if that’s not the case? should i contact them? should i just try to submit elsewhere? (i live in a city, so there are options, but it’s not like i’m really suited to do loads and loads of things…) cheers

Do you mind if I ask how you submitted? Online or in person…

If online then the response you got may be an auto-response.

A lot of companies, due to the amount of applications received, will only respond to those they are interested. However they should state that somewhere during the application process.

I have had job applicants ask me how long they should wait for a reply and I will tell them within a week or two or if I’m only going to answer the ones I’m interested in then if they haven’t heard from me within two weeks then they didn’t get it.

I think it is acceptable for you to contact them after 1-2 weeks to see what the status of the position or your application is.

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Well I think you should have followed up and contacted them already. I would contact them tomorrow. Barbie has experience with this as she states so she is a good source of information. And maybe things have changed in the job market since I last went applying for jobs.And maybe the waiting time is different when applying for volunteer jobs compared to paying jobs. BUT… for every paying job I’ve applied for since 1988 (about ten or fifteen) I will put in an application and if I don’t hear from them in 4-6 days I will go back in person and ask them if they’ve hired anyone yet. And just kind of talk to them a little bit to see how things are going in the application process. Then if they say they are still thinking it over I will wait another two or three days and then call them and ask about it. You want to show you are really interested and eager to get the job. For unskilled, paying jobs this has worked for me. But yeah, if you haven’t contacted them by now I would do it as soon as possible.


one was online completely and the other i typed the application, printed it out from an online source, and then delivered it in person. there wasn’t anyone in volunteer services available when i did, though, so i left it at the front desk. in both cases, the online entirely one i got a form email. the one i delivered, the receptionist gave me roughly the same line.

so since it’s been a bit more than the 1-2 weeks, am i too late to follow up? i don’t want to look like a jackass. i just sincerely believed them.

It is never to late to follow up. These things can be hard to judge sometimes. Working at a recruiting firm I got to understand that sometimes things get in the way so even though someone’s intentions may be to hire someone within a week, life happens, and 3 weeks later it’s not done.

Look at it this way. What is the worst that can happen? You find out the job has been filled… At least then you know and you can move on.


how would people even know to do that?

am i just screwed now because i didn’t know the unspoken protocol of following up in four to six days?

i hate social crap like this! not your fault, i’m just saying. if i’ve not been employed then how would i even know that? how did you learn that? is there a book or a brochure or something? i feel like my vocational placement person (who does volunteer placement assistance as well as actual paid things) just crapped the bed on me by not mentioning this until yesterday. ugh.

i do kinda think that if i have to figure out some double speak subtext thing then maybe those aren’t the best positions for me, you know? i mean, if that’s how the application works…oy! can you imagine doing that daily? that just seems all suspicious to me. i feel like i’m told i “read into” stuff enough and then i try not to and expect transparency/be transparent and it backfires. how do i not just think they’re all deceptors now? well…i guess i phone to find out. but it’s still weird to me somehow.

cheers for the advice though and i’ll let you guys know what happens.

oh, i should clarify. it’s not a job. it’s volunteer work. i don’t know if that changes your replies, but i’ll ring today. well, it’s seven AM here. i’ll ring at a more appropriate hour. maybe after day programme.


You learn by experience. I wasn’t born knowing this.
Someone had to tell me this too. You just learned— so now you know. I didn’t magically know , I had to learn like you are doing now too. And yes, there are books that teach you stuff like I told you. Now you know for the next time you apply for a position.

Don’t get discouraged and give up, it’s never too late to learn things. Applying for jobs and actually DOING jobs are two separate things. Lots of jobs don’t ask for experience–they will train you. Experience is a plus, but not always required.

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Trust yourself more. It shows initiative and enthusiasm to make the inquiry just try and keep it somewhat professional even in a volunteering position. The question isn’t should you make other applications but is why haven’t you already? The more you put your name out there. The more you will get contacted and have more of a choice of the positions you want.

i rang both places yesterday. one was just a voicemail service and i ended up leaving a more awkward one than i’d’ve hoped…

the other, i talked to a person who said they have volunteer training sessions once monthly and had planned to be in touch next week to register me for the november one–that’s what stack my application was in. so that one sounds promising! she registered me for it over the phone and i’m to present self in two weeks for a two-hour presentation/training. whew! this is to walk dogs with a local shelter/rescue and something i’m confident i can do well, so i’m hopeful it all works out.


Good luck. I hope you get it. The two hour training sounds long though.

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