No one seems to be exempt from the email dilemma. Whether you’re job hunting and emailing recruiters and other hiring professionals, or sending business emails, people often don’t get back to you. You’re faced with deciding whether or not to send an email follow-up, or two or three.
It’s an uncomfortable situation. We don’t know if the recipient doesn’t want to answer us, hasn’t had the time to get back, never saw our email in their in box, or never even received it.
[Regarding the last point, email sometimes doesn’t reach its destination. Let that be a lesson in email etiquette. When you receive an email, acknowledge receipt. Even a simple “Got it” will do.]
Want people to actually open, read and respond to your emails? Follow the advice of email marketing experts. Their job is all about determining the best ways to get more people to respond to emails.
5 Email Follow-Up Must Do’s
According to Rebecca Zucker, executive coach and founding Partner at Next Step Partners, a leadership development firm, you’ll get results from your email follow-up if you do the following. (She cites various studies by email marketing firms which you can access via the article itself.):
Have a compelling subject line.
Forty-seven percent of emails are opened or discarded based on their subject line alone. Research shows that shorter subject lines with only four words have the highest open rates, which makes sense since two-thirds of emails are read on mobile devices.
Be mindful of your tone.
Tone can easily be misinterpreted via email, so take care to craft a message that sounds friendly and polite. Research shows emails that are slightly to moderately positive in tone have a 10-15% higher response rates than more neutral messages.
Keep it short and use simple language.
No one likes to receive a long or dense email. Research shows that between 75 and 100 words is ideal, yielding the highest response rate at 51%. This means that if you’re forwarding your initial email, your follow-up message should be even shorter.
Make a clear ask.
An unambiguous, direct question will make your request evident to the reader. The clearer you are, the easier it is for them to respond. In fact, you are 50% more likely to get a response if you ask up to three questions than no questions at all.
Be judiciously persistent.
Research shows that asking for what we need reduces anxiety and improves your self-esteem, sense of agency, and the quality of your relationships – not to mention, it may help you to get your request fulfilled. In short, following up is worth the effort.
My 6 Job Search Email (and Email Follow-Up) Mistakes
Without realizing it, you may be making email mistakes that can sabotage your chances of landing a job you covet and deserve.
The meat of your email message – what you include and don’t include in the actual content – requires careful consideration.
Most importantly, always put yourself in the shoes of the recipient. If you’re emailing someone at one of your target companies, your message needs to position you as a good-fit candidate.
And I hope it goes without saying that the content needs to reinforce your personal brand and good-fit qualities for your target employers.
Adding to the previous suggestions, here are 6 things to avoid in your emails:
- Writing that’s too informal
- Content that is difficult to digest
- Not personalizing and customizing for each reader
- Typing and grammar errors
- Forgetting your branded email signature with the sign-off
- Attachment errors
Get Recruiters’ Attention with the Right Email Messages
Recruiters are busy people, sometimes overwhelmed by unsolicited emails from people they don’t know.
They’re in the habit of deleting emails, or hitting “Ignore” on LinkedIn, when they contain various blunders.
And you’ll probably never know why they’ve overlooked you.
You don’t want to risk them ignoring or getting rid of your email, before they see what a great candidate you are, right?
Here are some things that may make recruiters ignore or delete your email:
- Questions that five minutes of research can answer
- Anything too generic
- Anything that makes them look up basic info on you
- Blanket requests for job search help
- Anything too long
Also, avoid asking questions like these in your email:
- Can you help me find a job?
- Do you have any job openings that fit my profile?
- Can you review my resume and send me your edits / feedback / suggestions?
- Can you please send me John Doe’s email address / phone number?
- Do you know anyone at Acme Company?
- Can you endorse / recommend me?