It’s the job seeker’s motto, three words of casual desperation: “Just…following…up….!”

It’s the cheery email subject line that many of us have sent to many a recruiter after not hearing back about a role. Underneath the casual inquiry into how the job application process is going lies a crushing worry that we have said the wrong thing at the wrong time. We don’t want to be annoying, we don’t want to stand out in a bad way, the people pleaser in us thinks.

But in order to win the ultimate prize of a response, you need to understand how to be pleasantly persistent — to push past your hangups and master the art of the follow-up.

Here are the guidelines to follow to do it right:

1) Understand the motivations behind your follow-up and explain them

No one is ever just checking in, and it’s better for both you and your intended recipient to know explicitly what you want and what your email is intending to accomplish.

Marketing and sales platform HubSpot recommends that crafting a follow-up email begin with determining your objective. Do you want more information about an application? Are you requesting a meeting? Do you want to thank your hiring manager for the in-person interview?

Too often, follow-up email writers cloak their intentions in overly polite language, thinking that that’s the right approach. But, in fact, the best way to get your recipient’s attention is to state clearly and explicitly why you’re emailing them.

2) Being clear means asking for a timeframe

To ease unnecessary agony, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green recommends asking for a timeframe immediately after a job interview about when you should expect to be back in touch. And whatever timeframe the manager gives you, Green advises you to double it, because “hiring nearly always takes longer than anyone expects it Read More Here