When I first started working, I was never a big fan of sending follow-up emails. Instead, I used to spend hours polishing my resume and practicing for the interview. I never really knew how to write a follow-up email; so I just didn’t do it. What I didn’t realise was, I was letting opportunities pass me by by not closing the deal.
After years of struggling with what content I should include and how long I should wait before sending the email, I’ve got it figured out. Below, I’ll share what I’ve learned along with examples to illustrate the points.
Why are follow-up emails important?
A follow-up email is your way of showing that you care about what you and the person in question had previously spoken about and proves you weren’t just making small talk. A good example is when people contact us because they’d like to write for our blog. 90% of them don’t send a follow-up email – they never do it. This makes me question whether they really want to work with us, or they’re just trying their luck. The ones that keep “bothering” us with follow-up emails get our attention.
A follow-up email is the difference between someone throwing resumes at the wall to see what sticks and the person who is genuinely interested in working with you.
When do I send a follow-up email?
The amount of time that should pass before sending the email depends on why you’re sending it. For example, after an interview, a job fair or a networking event, it’s good to send it within 24 hours. This way, you’ll be able to remind the person about who you are or what you talked about. When sending your resume to the CEO of your dream company, you could give it at least 48 hours. As they are one of the busiest in the company, it might take them longer to read your initial message.
What to write in a follow-up email?
Again, it depends on the context of your situation. You’d write a slightly different one after an interview or a networking event. Let’s look at these 4 different scenarios.
1. Job interviews
I know, the only thing you want to do after an exhausting interview is to drink a bottle of wine. Get rid of that annoying voice in your head reminding you of what you could have said better.
Before you do that, though, sit down for just 15 more minutes and write up a good follow-up email. Don’t let them forget about you. Reiterate your interest in the job position and the company. To remind the recruiter why you are the ONE for the job, highlight your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you applied for. Use the same keywords they did in the job spec. After an interview, there’s always something you forgot to mention. The follow-up email is your way of adding something important you wanted to mention but forgot because you don’t deal well with stress.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me about the [Position] with [Company].
After speaking with you, I believe that I would be a perfect candidate for this position. I’d offer the [Your top skill] and [Another top skill] that you need for such a diversified position.
In addition to my enthusiasm for performing well, I would bring the [Your experience in the required field] necessary to get the job done.
I look forward to hearing from you once the final decisions are made regarding this position.
Please feel free to contact me at any time if further information is needed.
Thank you again for your time and consideration.
2. Networking events
If you just attended a networking event, it was because you wanted to meet new people and get new contacts, right? Remember to collect emails or business cards of anyone who you’d like to stay in touch with. Why? So you can send them a short message afterwards, to help them remember you. This can also help them remember who you are in a time when you have a project to work on with them. All you need to do is write your future e-mail as a reply to the old one. They will see you had a conversation before.
Your message to such people should be short and straight to the point. Also, try to tie it to what you two talked about. Preferably something more meaningful than the weather.
Like that, you will show your appreciation, willingness to stay in touch and develop a further relationship.
It’s [Your name] and we met on today’s [Name of the event]. It was great meeting you and I must say I totally agree with you on [The thing you talked about].
I’d love to chat with you in the near future about [The thing that connects you two and is of interest to both of you].
I enjoyed connecting with you and I look forward to engaging with you in the future!
All the best,
3. Job fairs
A job fair is an exciting opportunity to meet your dream company or a potential employer to have a casual chat. It’s a chance to leave a good first impression together with your recently enhanced resume. 😉 The role of a follow-up email is quite important here. It could be your way of getting an interview, especially if it was a one where everyone’s trying to make a lasting impression.
In the email, explain how excited you’d be to work for them. Mention the main reasons why you would be the right person for the job, emphasize your strengths and capabilities while demonstrating that you would be a good company fit. of your qualities as a candidate and why you think you’d be the right fit for them. Still, keep it short and straight to the point.
This way you’ll reinforce their interest and show your recognition of their company.
It’s [Your name] and we met on today’s [Name of the job fair]. I know your inbox is probably a busy place, but I just wanted to say Thank You for talking to me today.
As I mentioned, I would be excited to get a chance for an interview for the position of [The position] you’re currently offering. I believe that both my soft and hard skills are strongly in line with your requirements.
I think my experience in [Your special skill/experience] would come in handy when developing a new strategy for [the name of the company/project you discussed]we discussed. Let me know if you’d like any additional information.
I also attached my resume, just in case.
Thanks again and I hope to hearing from you soon.
4. Follow-up email after sending your resume to a potential employer
One of the advice I give to students and other job-hunters on events is this. Instead of uploading your resume through the job-boards and general websites, contact the CEO or a manager of a department you’d like to work in. The question they ask me after that is: ”But what if they don’t reply? What do we do then?” The answer is – send them a follow-up email.
Again, it’s your way of reminding them of how motivated you are why you’d be the right choice for them. Before drafting the email, check the person’s social media profiles. Have they recently posted anything that you find interesting? Consider mentioning that in the email to catch their attention. It’s good to wait at least 48 hours before you follow-up with them. (Use a similar example as the one in the first point.)
Back to you!
Yes, looking for a job is a difficult task. You need to research the company you’d like to work for and craft an amazing job-specific resume. Then, if you’re lucky enough, they give you a chance for an interview. After that, you even have to write a follow-up email! But once you do all that, the reward is sweeter than Swiss chocolate. Don’t give up and follow our advice. The finish line is close!
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*note, the original version of this article was published May 10th, 2017