By Jeff Welter, Assistant Director of Professional Development & Finance Career Coach
You may have heard about the importance of building a strong resume and practicing those trick questions that will help you ace your interview. These two steps cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to looking for a job. However, there is a third element to really making that impression and landing the job: the follow-up. You can skip to the infographic below if you just want to get the gist of it. But here are some good pieces of advice on how to follow up.
When to Follow-Up
The answer to this question is two-fold. First, you must take into consideration the situation. What situations would you want to follow up with? People often only consider it necessary to follow up after a job interview (which is a must). But the truth is if you really are interested in the company, following up is probably the best way to leave a memorable impression or to make a connection with the employer. Thus, you should also follow up after a quick introduction at a career fair, an informal meeting, an information session, etc.
Secondly, how long should you wait before following up? Another common misconception is that you should wait a few days before sending that email to avoid looking too eager. Well, you do really want that job, don’t you? Employers want to see that you care enough to want to immediately remind them about you. And “immediately” is used in the literal sense; you should follow up as soon as possible—whether it is five minutes after meeting or five hours later. (Note: the follow up should happen no later than 24 hours after the meeting.)
3 Things That Make the Perfect Email
Levo League has a great article on this topic, but here are the main takeaways:
- Hook: Employers, recruiters, interviewers—they all interact with so many people daily that a simple “Hi my name is” and a “It was really nice meeting you today” aren’t going to cut it. Think about a specific and meaningful moment from the conversation that you can bring up again (and this is also why you would want to follow up as soon as possible).
- Idea: This point is especially important, but also somewhat counterintuitive. It’s suggesting that you should share an idea or resource, free of charge, that will help the recipient. Think you have nothing to gain from doing this? Offering an idea or a resource is actually a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, or assets.
- Action: Just as a good advertisement or a persuasive essay ends with a call to action, so should your follow up email. The action really depends on the circumstance but say you had just met someone at a career fair—schedule an informational interview. Or maybe you are following up with someone you spoke to on the phone—suggest having a face-to-face meeting. An action item reduces the chances of your follow up being overlooked.
The Daily Muse has a wonderful article on “Emails That Land Jobs: The Best Way to Shine in a Follow-Up Note” and an example on how it’s done. You should definitely check it out.
To sum things up, check out this infographic and hopefully, your next follow up will make you memorable.