When you reach the end of your academic career, you'll discover that there are things even more frustrating than meeting the back-to-back assignment deadlines. One of those things is waiting for a response after you have appeared for a job interview. But if you’re eager for a response, then there are effective means to get it as well. This is where follow-up emails step in.
In the pursuits of your career, you'll find how impactful a follow-up is whether you send a job follow-up email or a follow-up for a business proposal. Now, writing a follow-up email is an elaborate process, and you need to master if you are hoping for a quick response from your recipient. So, in order to guide you on how to send a follow-up email, you need to follow the practices listed down below.
How to write a follow-up email
- Wait for at least three business days to send a follow-up
There’s no universal rule in case of how long you should wait before sending out a follow-up email. However, it’s best to wait for at least three days, unless your recipient gave a particular date when they’d respond. In that case, wait for at least one business day after that date.
For instance, if the individual has notified that they’d respond before or on Thursday the 19th, wait until at least Friday the 20th to send the follow-up.
In case, of interview follow-up emails, it’s usually wise to wait at least five business days. You don't need to count only business days (which means skipping weekends and holidays) when following up via email, in case you’re sending a business email.
- Address the email directly to the person you’ve communicated with
This is always the norm when it comes to personal emails, and also serves as the best option for business or job follow-up emails. If the recipient gave you their contact details or told you to follow-up with them, make sure send the message directly to them (and only them).
If the person didn’t provide any contact details or invite you to follow-up with them, send your email to the person who directed you to the one you’re interacting with. You must request in the subject line that the message should be directed to the person you dealt with previously.
- Don’t send more than two follow-up emails
It’s tricky to know when to send a follow-up mail, so you will face the dilemma if you have to send a follow-up to another follow-up email. If your first follow-up goes unnoticed, wait 1-2 business days to send the second follow-up email. If this second message goes unanswered, you can either stop following up or contact someone else.
In this case, you can develop a new follow-up message if you wish. It’s also perfectly fine to send the same message as your original follow-up mail after the job application or for a business opportunity. But make sure to incorporate a note at the top like the following:
I sent this follow-up on Friday, and I’m eager to hear the feedback on the interview conducted last Tuesday.
- Reply directly to the subject line of the original email
If your subject line is irrelevant or vague, your follow-up email after sending a resume or any other business may end up unnoticed or in the junk folder. Make sure you choose your words or phrases carefully so that the subject line explicitly and immediately connects to your interaction with the recipient.
Never assume an individual will recognise your email address and open the message. Always use the subject line to your advantage.
- Address the recipient in your greeting and thank them at the end
You can choose to be informal with your greetings for a personal follow-up email. However, a follow-up email after interview or business should balance respectful formality and the familiarity owing to your prior interaction.
Your greeting can ideally look like this: “Dear Joseph,” or “Dear Barbara,” unless you feel more formality is appropriate: “Dear Mr. Wilson,” or “Dear Dr. Crosby.”
At the end of your follow-up email, thank them one last time and include your full name, eg. “Thank You, Fred Atkins.”
- Keep it concise
Include not more than three paragraphs, each one 2-3 sentences long. In case of writing a job follow-up email or for any other business purposes letter, get to the point and get there soon.
This doesn’t mean you have to wrap everything in a single sentence, but it does mean presenting a streamlined email without any superfluous content. Create clean and concise paragraphs along with the following this format.
- Paragraph 1: A thank you message and a clear statement that you're following up.
- Paragraph 2: A recap of the details of your contact and a reaffirmation of your interest.
- Paragraph 3: A statement that you’re hoping for an update or that it “would be appreciated.”
- Closing courtesy
- Present all the essential details the recipient needs
Make sure that the other individual has to do the bare minimum to follow-up. They probably haven’t been able to get back to you because they've been busy. So, if they have to skim through their notes or files to find out about your previous interaction, then it’s likely that they’ll decide it isn’t worth their time to get back to you now, either.
If you had a job interview, state the particular date and time, the name of the position, and other crucial details within the follow-up email.
For instance, “I’m writing to follow-up on our interview last Monday the 23rd February at the afternoon.”
- Be clear from the start and courteous too
Express appreciation to the recipient, and be clear from the start. Don’t hide the fact that you’re writing a follow-up email. In fact, let the person know right away why you’re writing to them, and convey your appreciation while you’re at it.
You can try stating: “Thanks again for finding the time to meet me last Wednesday. I’m writing to follow-up on that interview meeting and your thoughts on my performance.”
- Convey to the recipient that you value their time
Using a proper subject line and getting straight to the point of your email indicates that you respect the other person’s time. It’s also a wise idea to state once or twice in the message that you appreciate the time they’re dedicating to you. You don’t have to resort to flattery, and that may not even be helpful, but showing some respect always increases your chances of a quick response from the recipient’s end.
If the individual has been too busy to get back to you, telling them how much you value their time is an excellent way to nudge them to respond.
Follow Up Mail Example
Now that you have gone through all the tricks to write a follow-up email, here’s a sample of the same to help you prepare your own follow-up email.
| Subject line: Pleasure to know more about Quantum Inforsystems Inc. |
Dear Mr. George,
Thank you for finding the time to talk to me about the position of digital marketing manager with Quantum Infosystems Inc. It was a delight to know more about the company and its efforts to bring innovative technologies in the telecom industry.
The details you gave me with about the position convinced me that this is a responsibility I would enjoy doing. I hope to make a significant contribution with my experience and skills with my 5 years of experience as a digital marketer.
I was also thinking about what you pointed out regarding the dipping engagement rate in your site. In my last role as a marketing executive, I have dealt with a similar issue and I believe I will help resolve this issue effectively.
Finally, you will find the details of some of my projects we talked about attached with this mail. Please contact me any time if you find you need more details. I look forward to our meeting next week as discussed.
Thank you once again, Mr. George.
Sending a follow-up email is the best way to get a response that you’ve been eagerly waiting for. And if you master nuances involved with writing a follow-up email, your chances receiving a quick response increases instantly. So, put these ideas to the test and craft an effective follow-up email yourself.
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