by Veda Darby Soberman, Head Editor, INALJ Hawaii
Follow-up Emails for Novice Networkers
So, you have submitted a number of resumes to potential employees, and now you just need to sit back and wait for the phone calls to begin pouring in, right? Yes…no…maybe? What do you do once your resume is submitted? Is a follow up email or phone call necessary or effective?
With all of the jobs I have been hired for, I don’t think I ever considered or felt the need to do any follow-up communications once I applied. Most of these jobs had been positions for which I was confidently well-qualified for, and I was most often contacted for an interview within two weeks of the closing date of the job posting. However, now that I am applying for professional positions in the library and information field, I feel quite compelled to do something other than sit back and wait once my resume has been submitted.
Since graduating in December 2012, I have applied for a few available positions, but have not heard one way or another about the status of my applications other than they were received. I know that while I am highly capable, I am less confident that I would be considered well-qualified for an LIS job in comparison with someone with many years of experience in the field. As such, I have decided that it would be to my advantage to do some networking through simple follow-up emails.
Two weeks after applying for a public services position at a local university library, I sent a follow-up email to the person named on the job listing as the one to direct inquiries to. I knew that this person was a secretary to the University Librarian (after some research on the library’s website), and would not likely respond to my follow-up. However, I had hopes that the secretary would pass my message along to the search committee or University Librarian. After two more weeks of waiting, I decided to work up the nerve to email the University Librarian with whom I had built a relationship with through my research projects as an MLIS student. It may seem silly that I had not contacted her to start with, but I wanted to follow proper protocol and didn’t want to appear desperate or pushy. Thankfully, she seemed happy to hear from me, and provided me with an update on the status of the position. While the effectiveness of this follow-up communication in landing a job is yet to be seen (the position I applied for is still “in the process”) I definitely see the value of checking in, especially when you have the beginnings of a network already established. A short and polite follow-up can communicate that you are still around and interested especially when an organization my take months to complete the hiring process.
While follow-up communications should be tailored to the organization and your relationship with the person with whom you are communicating, here is what I think are the basic components of a solid follow-up email:
1) Polite greeting
2) Reminder of who you are if you have already established a relationship with the organization or person with whom you are communicating (include additional thanks if they had helped you with research, etc.)
3) What position you have applied for (include where you saw the posting) and when
4) Any updates to your application (i.e. graduation date, current or completed internships, trainings, etc.)
5) Question about the status of the position. Keep it simple and to the point. Something along the lines of, “What is the current status of this position?” should suffice.
6) Express your interest in working at the organization (again, keep it short and sweet).
7) Say that you would be happy to provide any additional information, and include your contact information.
8) Close politely with something like, “I look forward to hearing from you about this or any other available positions at [insert organization name]. Thank you for your consideration.”
Definitely keep it concise. Two to three brief paragraphs should be enough. Good luck!