You don’t need to buy them anything or hang out in the lobby, it’s easier than that. Believe it or not, there are easy steps to follow when writing a follow-up email that won’t take long and won’t annoy everybody involved.
Follow-ups are important and can show a company you care in a really genuine way if you handle it right.
Re-emphasize the initial interaction
Think about how many times someone tells you something from their heart but it’s something you constantly hear from everybody and it no longer carries the weight of the kind, thoughtful intention they meant to give with it. That is what “just checking in” means in the follow-up job world.
Besides my wonderful grandma, this is how you sound sending an email with the phrase “just checking in” in the subject line/first paragraph. Instead, an easy substitute would be to re-emphasize the initial interaction you had with that person. Not only does this pinpoint exactly who you are in the vast pool of emails your potential employer is probably getting, but it also gives them a helpful cue card.
Focus on a goal
What is it you want to say with your follow up? Is this just a simple thank you email, or do you have any questions about their processes? If you are afraid of simply sending a short thank you, try researching the companies social media or blog to catch up on any news update involving the company, there’s a good chance questions will spring up from your research.
State your purpose
Be very specific about what you’re asking your potential employer by the end of your email. This is your hand-crafted call to action. By doing research on the company, you are in a good spot to ask for more information on something you’ve identified, arrange another meeting for a transfer of knowledge interview, or ask them to connect you with someone else who would be good to talk to about your question with.
Make subject lines short and sweet
This should really be one of the first points in the article but here it is, telling you that if you think subject lines don’t count you’re crazy. Take a look at your own inbox for some primary research. What emails do you judge immediately by the subject line and refuse to even open? Are there some emails that trick you with intriguing subject lines only to be fooled by another ad? You don’t want to “trick” your potential employer, but giving them some context clues in the subject line may protect your email from being deleted upon first glance.
Personal examples from my inbox that aren’t helpful:
- ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH TURMERIC TO CREATE A POWERFUL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANTI-CANCER SNACK – Health Nut News (thanks mom, but a little shout-y)
- 4:15PM Office Hours moved to tomorrow (good, but makes me feel like I don’t need to open because I already get the jist of the message)
- Can I wear a bikini on an airplane? – Quora (odd questions may stand out, but aren’t what you want to project)
Helpful emails that I want to open for more information (also from my personal inbox) :
- Company Deck we shared with Pete (states the content and context in a quick way without giving away too much)
- Great work! Angela Giakas just found a blog because of you! (Encouraging use of exclamation marks, seems friendly and includes a name for context, but be smart when using these in a professional email)
- 3 reasons I would be a great addition to your team (Quantifiable subject lines are the most powerful, simple, sweet, and persuasive. This is the most applicable example, but the other two are good takeaways for a stream of emails following the follow-up)
Obey the time rule
Sending one follow-up is okay, but when you could really get away with a maximum of 3, why not send some off? Go ahead and flatter your future employer but be weary of the time rules.
One day after interaction: This is where you rehash the amazing conversation you shared with your interviewer and ask any questions you didn’t have time for the day of. Thank them for their time and ask them to let you know if they need you to send them any more examples of your work.
One week after interaction: Ask more questions, ask about company culture, ask them for feedback on the items you submitted.
One month after interaction: This is where you could check in with any more questions, or ask if they could point you towards someone to have further conversations with.
NOTE: Do not be offended if you don’t receive a response to any of your emails! Chances are your potential employer is busy with a lot of different management tasks and has seen your emails, but doesn’t have time to consider you for the position at the moment.
Be patient and kind to yourself, chances are if you are a good fit they might store you resume away for the future when they need to fill a position that is a better fit for you.
Lastly, while these aren’t sure-fire ways to nail down a job, these definitely help you stand out and seem interested in the company culture/tasks/people you might be a part of.
Mike Seidle is the Chief Operating Officer and a cofounder of WorkHere. Mike has split his career between sales and marketing and building software. Prior to building WorkHere, Mike founded Indy Associates, Virtual Payment Systems and Professional Blog Service. Mike also served as Director of Development for DirectEmployers Association where he helped architect the National Labor Exchange and served on the board of directors for the HR Open Standards Consortium.