How to Use a Follow-Up Email to Stand Out in Your Job Search

As of May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 6.6 Million people in the United States alone who are all actively looking for work. In a pool of people that large, it can be difficult to get in front of hiring managers. First and foremost, with some of the new AI-adapted technologies being used in recruiting, even just getting your resume seen is harder than ever, especially if your resume is not specifically optimized to the position you’re applying for. You have to do anything and everything you can to stand out.  

And let’s face it, applying for work can be a full-time job in itself. It’s a constant pattern of sending out custom cover letters, specially crafted resumes, and waiting; So much waiting. After resume optimization and sending a good cover letter, the next thing that you can do to help your application stand out to hiring managers is send a really good follow-up email. 

In the job search process, there are two main times you would use a follow-up email: 

  • After submitting your resume
  • After you’ve had your first  interview

No matter which of these situations you find yourself in, the rules are just about the same. After approximately two weeks, if you haven’t yet heard back on your initial engagement, it is time to craft a follow-up email. 

Not only will doing this give prospective employers another glimpse of you as a candidate, it also shows that you’re truly interested in the position. It tells the manager that you are willing to take a chance by reaching out again, and that you are not afraid to follow-through and take initiative – these are both attributes most companies look for in all of their employees, no matter the position they hold. 

In either scenario, it is incredibly important for the tone of your follow-up email to be professional and polite, while still “selling” your experience and background for the position you’re applying for. It’s a chance for you to highlight the parts of your work history that might not immediately jump out at them from your resume.

There are many resources available online to help you use the proper etiquette and wording to get the results that you desire, but here are five quick tips for making a great impression with your follow-up email: 

1. Use a professional, to-the-point subject line.

But also, don’t be afraid to show your personality a little. Let the manager know exactly what you’re emailing them about up front, and entice them to open the email right away. If you can make them smile at the same time, it’s a total bonus! 

2. Get to the point.

Be brief and don’t beat around the bush. Tell them why you’re reaching out and why they should want to talk to you. Talk about your experience. I mean, you can brag a little. It’s ok. You are the best person for the position, right? They need to know that and why. As a great boss I had many years ago said, “you don’t get what you don’t ask for.” Make the case and ask for them to consider you as an asset for their company. 

3. Ask a follow-up question.

There may be something that you forgot to ask in the interview, or something they may have left out of the job description. This is the time to ask. With any employment relationship, it’s good to keep the dialogue open and ask about the things you need to know. An interview is a two-way street, not just you answering all of their questions. Remember, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you – working is a relationship and needs to be mutually beneficial. 

4. Drop a time and date to follow up.

Don’t leave the scheduling up to the manager completely. Offer up some times and dates that you’re available, and reaffirm that you eagerly want to chat with them more about the position. Then ask them to confirm if any of those times work with their busy schedule. This lets them know that you’re proactive, considerate, and understanding of the demands of the position they hold and you’re respectful of that. 

5. Edit, edit, edit!

Last but never least, make sure all typos are corrected and that you’re using proper grammar and punctuation. Every little detail counts. This may be the very last chance you have to make a great impression. The last thing you would want is to have a misspelled word ruin your chances at a great career. 

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It can be time-consuming to write follow-up emails for all of the positions you apply for, but it’s well worth your time. Mastering the art of sending a good follow-up email will put you ahead of your competition. It will help that hiring manager remember you, and it shows that you care about your career, that you’re interested in their company, and that you are an organized and thoughtful potential hire. 

If it’s helpful, here’s an example, for your inspiration.  

Happy job hunting! 

Subject line: Thank you for your consideration

Dear Ms. Johnson,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the manufacturing assistant role. It was so great to meet with you and learn more about the position.

I’m very excited about the opportunity to join Weston Metals  and am particularly interested in working with you to expand the new line of fencing that you described. It’s exciting to me to think about being involved in such an innovative project like that and I think it would be a great opportunity to expand on my existing skill set. .

After our conversation, I’m confident that my background and my interest in your industry will enable me to fill the job requirements effectively and support the vision of Weston Metals. 

Please let me know if I can provide you with any further information, or references for you to contact. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again,

Yvonne Leads 


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