One of most important aspects of your job search is following up with each company you’ve applied to. It’s extremely important to know when it’s appropriate to follow up, and how you should address the hiring manager or contact person. Here are some tips on how you should follow up during your job search.
You should always remain enthusiastic throughout the hiring process. Your excitement will demonstrate your interest in the position and your willingness to learn, but don’t let your enthusiasm make you impatient. A good rule of thumb is to wait around a week before sending a follow-up email; however, there is still some gray matter to deal with.
Let’s say you recently had a job interview. In this case, it would be perfectly acceptable for you to send a “thank you” email the same day, while also sending a follow-up email a week later. In the event you’re applying for a job, you may also send a follow-up email about a week after your application was submitted. If a week goes by after your first email and you still haven’t heard anything back, you could send one more follow-up email, but you should leave it at that. It could take some time for the hiring manager to get back at you, and you don’t want to come off as pushy or impatient.
Personalize Your Follow-Ups
Once again, your trusty research can be relied upon when it comes time to send follow-up emails. Along with your resume and cover letter, your follow-up emails should be tailored to each individual company you apply to. As you prepare to draft your email, take a look at the company’s website, social media profiles, and even the LinkedIn profiles of the hiring manager and management team. This will give you some insight into how you might approach writing your email.
If you noticed any exciting updates on the company’s Facebook profile or on their corporate blog, you could mention it in your email. If you’re applying to an advertising agency and you noticed it just acquired a contract to work with one of your favorite licenses, you could express your enthusiasm in your follow-up email. Depending on your field, the things you choose to mention in your follow-up could vary wildly. Always be honest and keep it professional.
When sending a follow-up email after an interview, you could reference any high points from your meeting with the hiring manager. Let’s say you somehow got into a conversation about a recent sporting event; this could be casually revisited in your next exchange. The trick here is to use your intuition. If the interview went particularly well and you felt you’ve built enough rapport with the hiring manager, making a connection like this can prove useful. Just remember to maintain professionalism throughout each exchange—if your gut tells you something shouldn’t be mentioned, don't ignore the feeling.
Whether you’re following up on an application or after a job interview, maintaining a professional tone is critical, even if you decide to personalize your interactions. Try to see a follow-up email as another opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills and your overall value to potential employers. Here, you want to be honest, brief, and impactful. Always respond to the most recent email rather than creating a new one, and include a short introduction to address the hiring manager or contact person. Again, if you feel you’ve built enough rapport during an interview, you may be able to speak on a first-name basis; however, if you’re unsure, play it safe and address your contact person with their surname.
If you’re following up on an application, thank the contact person for their time, then restate your name and the date of your application. Next, include a quick sentence on why you’re interested in the role, then end the email by politely requesting an update and signing off. A typical sign off could be a simple “thank you”, or “looking forward to speaking with you again.”
Following up after an interview is quite similar, except that you’re a bit further along in the hiring process. Here, you might have the opportunity to address the contact person on a first-name basis. Always thank them for their time on the interview and if possible, reference any memorable moments from the interview. Close out by politely asking for an update, and sign off.
Leverage Network Connections
You might find yourself in a situation where one of your network connections has established some level of rapport with a company you’re applying to. In this scenario, you could reach out to your network connection and politely ask if they’ve noticed any movement in the company’s hiring process in hopes of gaining more information, or you could even ask your network connection if they can put you in contact with someone at the company.
Keep in mind that this tactic should only be used after you’ve sent an initial follow-up email to your contact person. The advantage of leveraging a network connection is to help move the process along a little faster, but you don’t want to look pushy. The hiring manger likely has a lot of emails and resumes to go through, so if you could find an alternate route to someone inside the company, it could prove useful.
As with mostly anything in your career, the ability to follow up effectively during your job search will develop over time. Always use your intuition during the hiring process; be yourself, find your own voice, and remain honest and professional throughout. Eventually, all those follow-up emails will pay off.
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