I often talk about how important it is to spend a lot of time on your job search. That doesn't mean that all that time should be spent applying to jobs. In fact, it is actually possible to apply for too many jobs in a given week. Instead, you should focus on applying to a smaller number of jobs every week that best fit the position you are looking for. After that, it is time to work on a very important aspect of the search: The job follow up.
There are two times you are going to want to follow up with the employer: After you first send your application, and after an interview. I want to focus on the first instance today, as this will be key in even getting an interview.
So when should you follow up? There isn't really one right answer for this, but I would suggest waiting a couple of days before sending an e-mail over to the hiring manager. But when you do follow up, you should make sure it is well written and confident. The opening of your message should remind the employer that you had recently submitted an application for the position (be sure to mention the exact date). As you are probably well aware, organizations receive hundreds of resumes every day, so it is unwise to assume they will know who you are.
Next, you should emphasize why you think you would be a great fit for the job. You should also mention how excited you are about the opportunity for working for the organization, as well as stating any additional qualifications you have that would set you apart from other candidates.
Finally, you should avoid passive closings when you end your message. Instead of saying something like "I look forward to hearing back from you in the near future," say "I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications for your position." There may not seem to be much of a difference between those statements, but the phrasing makes all the difference. The first statement will make you seem passive, while the last statement shows you are very serious about wanting the job.
The big question most job seekers have is what to do after the follow up? Should you send another if you don't hear back? It's a tricky question, though most experts say that you should avoid sending multiple follow ups. The thought is that it makes you look desperate. Of course, you could flip that around and say it makes you look determined. Still, the safe bet is to reach out just once. If you are determined to try again, however, try to get someone else in your network to send a message to vouch for you. But after that, you should probably just leave it alone.