What is a follow-up email? In a few words, that is a short notice reminding the recipient about yourself. It usually shows your recipients that you are putting in a little more effort than everybody else. Of course, it will interest your addressee and will less likely make them ignore your message. Some people wait to answer until they receive a follow-up email on purpose. It is because they tend to talk only to those who care.
What does a follow-up email actually follow? There can be several reasons for such an email:
You can write a follow-up email while job searching.
After a job interview, it is a good idea to send a thank-you note. That will show your good manners, your real interest in the position and won’t let the recruiter easily forget about you. A thank-you note can also be effective after a successful deal or agreement.
You can send a follow-up letter to check on the status of an application.
If you have been promised but haven’t got an answer back from your potential employer, you have to remind him about yourself to increase your chances of being hired. That could sometimes encourage recruiters to review your CV once again even if it has been passed over.
A follow-up is effective right after you leave a voicemail.
With this, you influence your recipient’s two canals of perception – eyes and ears – that cannot but help you make the message more effective and memorable.
Write a follow-up asking for a favour.
For instance, you can wonder whether you are addressing the right person and kindly ask to help you with the information you need. People usually feel pleased to provide some aid and assistance, so it can raise your chances of being answered.
A good time to send a follow-up is also after your original email has been opened.
For that, you might want to use any of the available online trackers. After you see the person has opened your letter, wait for several hours to a day and write a follow-up email. It can be an additional reminder for the person to contact you.
What is important to remember about follow-up emails
Timing is crucial here. Thank-you notes following an interview, a meeting or a phone call should ideally be sent within 24 hours. If you are following up on an application or resume that you submitted, wait for a week or two before sending your letter. That is because the HR manager is simply unable to read through and analyse all the letters that he is receiving from the candidates within one or two days. If you send a follow-up right the next day after an interview, it can be easily ignored, or you can even annoy the recruiter with it. Better be patient.
What should a follow-up letter consist of?
- Remind the receiver who you are. Don’t assume that the recruiter or whoever the letter is addressed to remember you after the first meeting. It is a good idea to remind him or her the timing and circumstances of that meeting. If you were applying for a job, tell the recruiter what position you are interested in.
- Give a very brief overview of your positive sides. Remind the recruiter why you would be a good candidate for the chosen position. Reinforce your skills once again. But don’t be too wordy, mention only the most important things.
- Take a chance to add some details you may have missed while the original presentation of yourself. If you have accidentally omitted some important professional info, a follow-up letter is a good way to mention it. You can also attach some documents that confirm your skills.
How to make your follow-up email look perfect?
- A subject line should include the name of your position.
It brings you more chances that the letter will be read. Make sure it also attracts attention and is difficult to ignore. Consider including a question in the subject line. It can stimulate the reader to open the letter.
- Do not make your follow-up email look too casual.
No pictures from your vacation should be included as well as any memes or acronyms. Do not send an email without it being proofread by a friend.
- Be polite and keep the letter short.
A study by the email app Boomerang showed that emails between seventy-five and one hundred words have the best response rates.
- Divide your follow-up into paragraphs.
Get straight to the point, not assuming that the potential employer could ignore your candidacy on purpose. Stay positive and always assume that the person is just too busy to answer you in a short period. Your follow-up should be shorter than your original email. Remember: the shorter your follow-up email is, the more time you will usually need to write it.
- Remember about email signature.
If you still haven’t done it, creating email signature online is a good idea before sending a follow-up letter. Professional and good-looking email signature will add you some points.
- Formulate the goal of your follow-up email.
While writing it, always keep your objective in mind so that you can achieve it. If it is clear for you, it will be easily understandable for the recipient as well. All the parts of your letter should stick to the subject – starting from the subject line, including the body of the letter and be ending up with the email signature.
- Make your follow-up email personalized.
That means reminding your reader about the circumstances of your first meeting or bringing something original about it in his/her memory.
- Be as specific as possible.
If the email is very vague, there is almost no chance the recipient will read it. Your letter should somehow stand out among others. Keep in mind that by the word ‘others’ there can be a hundred of other candidates. So devote some time to making your letter laconic and topical. Avoid jargon, informal lexicon, and unnecessary information.
- A call to action should be included into your follow-up.
Either this is feedback from the receiver or a future meeting to be arranged, your recipient should understand that you are expecting the next step from him.
Writing is always an art. Take it seriously. Keep in mind that a thorough, thoughtful and well-written follow-up email often becomes a deciding factor while choosing between two capable candidates for the open job position. So don’t get lazy and try not to miss a chance to remind about yourself from a positive perspective.