One of the most awkward parts of sending a follow up email is finding something worth talking about. That's why many of us end up sending a horrendous "just checking in" email.
But if we're actually looking for a response, we should want to say more than ...
This essentially translates into, "Hi, I'm trying to get you to notice me and give me an update that benefits me but have nothing actually interesting to say."
And if you're in sales, this can be even more awkward. What is meant to be an email to follow up about your product awkwardly goes from "Hey, how are you?" to "Hey, do you want to buy my product today? How about now? Now?"When it comes to my own emails, I've found that content can serve as a much more personal solution.
When I'm typing my message, I first look at one of my favorite tools, Sidekick, which shows me my desired contact's recent tweets.
I'll also run a quick Google search if the tweets aren't revealing enough.
Through either tool, I typically look for -
- A recent PR win for my contact's company
- A piece of news my contact might find interesting
- A blog post written by my contact or someone at their company
This approach landed me a response from every company I emailed during my job hunt.
Meanwhile many of my, at the time, classmates were applying for post-grad jobs by sending standard follow up emails like the one at the beginning of this post. Most of them never garnered a response, or waited months to hear back.
So instead of sending what seemed like a selfish email simply asking about a job update, I went with the following template -
Was this email "long" by typical standards? Yes.
But it also showed genuine interest in the actual company I was applying to work for, not just requesting an update for the sake of one. And as mentioned, I heard back from every hiring manager I sent a variation of this template to.
One of my desired company's no longer had any job openings, but we continued to chat back and forth over email in the same thread. Then a few months later when a new job opened up, the hiring manager emailed me again. She said I was the first person she thought of when the job opened - before it even got posted publicly!
Check out more follow up email samples for the job hunt here.