We spend so much time polishing our resumes and practicing our interview responses that we often fail to grasp the importance of one powerful tool: the follow-up email.
I’m sure your resume included at least one bullet point advertising your ability to establish relationships and communicate effectively, right? Perfecting a solid email strategy is one way to prove your willingness to put forth the effort to do exactly this.
And since it’s likely that the majority of other interview applicants vying for the same new position will not follow up with the right people, in the right way (or even at all), now’s your chance to push through the sea of other applicants and emerge victorious.
But it’s not as simple as just sending a “checking in” message. One study found that the average person gets about 121 emails a day. So, similar to a tailored cover letter, your goal is to grab the reader’s attention quickly and make it hard for them not to respond.
Here are three ways to do that, complete with templates:
1. After You Apply: Demonstrate Value
Timeline: One to two weeks after you send in your resume.
Attach a recent example of a task you completed or a noteworthy project you contributed to that would be relevant to the desired role. This follow-up is appropriate after applying for a job.
Subject: Why I’m Worth Contacting for the [Title] Position
My name is Lauren Hamer and I recently submitted my application for the [position title] role. I’m excited about the opportunity to work for a company so heavily invested in [what the company is invested in].
Here are three reasons why I should be considered for this role:
1. I am known as [ 1 to 2 examples of soft skills: a talented mentor and trainer, highly regarded for building trusting relationships with clients and employees.]
2. My previous experience as a [relevant previous position title] will allow me to quickly learn your processes and succeed in the role.
3. I’m engaging and enthusiastic about sales and thrive in high-pressure environments.
In addition to submitting through the careers page, I’ve attached my resume and cover letter further detailing my qualifications and experiences. I hope to hear from you soon.
2. The Day You Interview: Get Personal
Timeline: Within hours of your meeting.
Thank the hiring manager for their time as soon as possible after an interview. This demonstrates your enthusiasm for the position and shows that you were paying attention to the details.
Subject: Thank you, Emily!
Good morning Emily,
Thank you again for your time today, I really enjoyed learning more about your experience at [Company Name] and how you’re working toward [event/goal discussed]. I really believe in your product, and I would love to prove to you and the team that I’m a great fit for the role.
Here’s the additional information on the warehouse acquisition we discussed earlier. Please reach out if you have any questions or need anything else on my end.
Thanks again for chatting today, and I look forward to talking more in the future.
P.S. Enjoy your upcoming vacation to New Orleans—the food at Manning’s is incredible!
The added personal statement about an event or common interest proves you were listening intently and shows an ability to forge relationships with new people quickly.
3. After the Hiring Manager’s Stated Decision Deadline: Forget the Standard Openers
Timeline: Three to five days after the stated deadline.
At the interview’s end, the hiring manager will probably give you a window for response times, but if they don’t, it’s acceptable to ask. Having this information is useful for your follow-up.
The decision to move a candidate forward depends on the size of the company and how aggressive its hiring timeline is. Unfortunately this means a lot of things can be left up in the air for longer than you’d like. However, you can still send this as a follow-up to your prior “thank you” when you haven’t heard back.
Remember: Because the hiring team is also performing its daily job responsibilities—in addition to conducting interviews—you want to make sure you’re not forgotten, but you also don’t want to overwhelm. This type of message can be used as a gentle reminder of why you’re so interesting and the very best person for the job.
Subject: Still Interested in the Position!
I hope this note finds you well. Your recent blog post regarding energy-saving tips and tricks was outstanding, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading!
You mentioned that you’d be making a decision for the sales position by the end of last week. Do you have any updates on the role? Please let me know if there’s anything I can provide to assist you in your decision-making process.
None of these feel right for your situation? Well know this: Most follow-ups are better than no follow-up at all, but there are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Hubspot says 33% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone, so write one that intrigues your audience. But keep it short, because 40% are opened on a mobile device first, meaning that only four to seven words will be visible. After all, what good is your message if no one takes the time to read it?
Another tip? Always continue your communications on the same thread. This allows the reader to easily scan and reference your earlier conversations, especially if you’re on that third and final follow-up. There’s a fine line between persistent and annoying. If you haven’t received a response at this point, it’s probably best to move on to another opportunity.
Chances are, you’re not the only one who’s interviewed. But using your follow-up emails as another way to sell yourself can be a game-changer and something you’ll never want to short-change again.