You’ve written an amazing resume. Before submitting it to several hiring companies, you’ve made sure it’s virtually perfect. So, why haven’t you heard back from any employers? Was your cover letter too long? Did you draw enough attention to your relevant skills? Did you come across as too stiff or unlikeable in your experience section?
While you may be asking yourself questions like these, your resume might not be the problem at all. In fact, your follow-up email may be the reason hiring managers aren’t calling you. Surprised? You’re in good company. Many jobseekers don’t realize they’re writing old-fashioned follow-up letters. Now that it’s 2018, things have changed, including follow-up email protocol. Fortunately, we can help you write a modern follow-up message that hiring managers can’t ignore. Take a look at the information below for help writing your own 2018 application follow-up email.
Out With the Old, In With the New: The 2018 Application Follow-up Email
With the rise of modern technology and instant communication, the old-fashioned follow-up letter has gone the way of VHS tapes and cassette players. Unfortunately, many people are stuck in the past and don’t know how to write modern follow-up emails.
If you ask your parents, friends, or older college professors how to write a follow-up letter, you’ll probably get outdated advice. Even websites are full of archaic rules for writing follow-up letters. Here are a few of the top outdated rules you’re likely to find with a quick internet search.
Send your application follow-up email 3-5 days after submitting your application
Back in 2014, some experts recommended you send your follow-up letter three to five days after submitting your application. But, it’s 2018, and things have changed. A recent survey of more than 300 human resource managers reveals that it’s best for applicants to follow up one to two weeks after resume submission. Bill Driscoll, district president at Accountemps, states that applicants must walk a fine line between “appearing too eager and not interested enough.”
If you send a follow-up letter a few days after submitting your resume, you may come across as pushy. On the other hand, waiting longer than two weeks can make you appear disinterested. For these reasons, the one-to-two-week recommendation is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Start your application follow-up email with “To whom it may concern:”
Whatever you do, don’t begin your follow-up email with a generic greeting! If you do, the hiring manager will imagine you’re at least 30 years older than you are. Or, even worse, he or she will think you’re too lazy to do your research. Either scenario is less than ideal.
It’s easy to hop online and find the name of the hiring manager so you can personalize your application follow-up email. LinkedIn is a great resource for this. If you’re unable to locate the hiring manager’s name online for some reason, try calling the company directly. In the unlikely event that you can’t find out the hiring manager’s name by calling the company, address your letter to the company in general. Any level of personalization is better than none at all.
Create a hand-written follow-up letter
No hiring manager expects you to create a hand-written job follow-up letter anymore. In fact, doing so is more likely to earn you an eyebrow raise than an interview. Years ago, when letters were commonly exchanged, it was normal to mail or hand-deliver a follow-up letter. But it’s 2018 now, and you should send the modern follow-up letter by email. That way employers can quickly respond back to you, instead of taking the time to write a hand-written response and mail it to your return address.
Use paragraph format
A few years ago, it was common practice to only use paragraph format in follow-up emails. While it’s ok to begin and end your email in paragraph format, modern jobseekers also include bullet points to make sure important information stands out. In addition, you can use numbered lists to re-emphasize the top reasons employers should considered you for the job opening. These formatting tips will help hiring managers skim through your email for the most important information.
Keep it simple
“Keep it simple” is usually good advice, but it can also be confused with “boring.” When it comes to the modern follow-up letter, your goal should be to stand out. Hiring managers typically receive dozens or even hundreds of emails each day, so yours needs to be worthy of attention.
Making your follow-up letter interesting doesn’t mean you should fill it with complicated words or add colorful fonts. But, it should be obvious to the hiring manager that you put effort into your letter. Use well-constructed sentences, make sure your content is well organized, and show some personality instead of being robotic.
According to Curt Peterson, Principal Engineer at Geotechnical Group, personality is important. He states, “If someone is too serious in their follow-up email, it can be a bad sign.” You can (and should) be professional without coming across as too stiff or formal. In short, use the same techniques you used to write your standout cover letter.
The 2018 Application Follow-up Email
To give you an example of how a good application follow-up email should look, we wrote our own. We used 2018 best practices to create the below follow-up letter for Judy Turner, who submitted her resume two weeks ago and hasn’t heard back from the employer.
Dear Mr. Gordon,
My name is Judy Turner, and I recently submitted my application for the administrative assistant role with your company. I’m excited about the opportunity to work for a company that places such high value on work ethic and innovation.
Here are three reasons I would be a great fit for this role:
- I am a forward-thinking, self-driven professional who knows how to cooperate with others for maximum efficiency.
- My previous experience as administrative assistant for a respected law firm will help me learn your administrative processes quickly.
- I excel in fast-paced environments, am adept at solving problems, and have an engaging personality.
In addition to applying directly through your careers page, I have attached my resume and cover letter to this email for your convenience. Please feel free to refer to it for additional details about my experience and qualifications. You are also welcome to contact me directly for more information. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your time,
Although a standout resume is essential for earning a hiring manager’s attention, do not underestimate the importance of a follow-up email. An interesting, well-written application follow-up email can keep your resume from getting overlooked, lost, or forgotten.
For instant help creating your follow-up letter, use the easy follow-up email builder from Cover Letter-Now. The tool is simple to use, and no writing experience is required to create a finished, professional follow-up email in a matter of minutes.