In the world of job seeking, there's probably nothing more demoralizing than putting yourself out there and getting no response. Rejection is one thing — though never fun, at least it provides some closure. But what about those times when you reach out to someone and simply never hear back?
You could forget about it — write it off as a rejection and move on. This may be the simplest reaction, but while it's easy to do, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. There are a lot of reasons why a contact may not have gotten back to you, and most of them have nothing to do with a lack of interest. Writing them off after a single non-response is a good way to waste a perfectly viable lead.
The worst thing someone can do is to say no — so why not try again? That doesn't mean bombarding every contact with half a dozen emails, but if a single follow-up could mean developing a job lead or cultivating a valuable contact, putting together a well-crafted follow-up is well worth the time and effort.
Things To Keep in Mind When Following Up
- It's pretty common not to get a response to a first email, no matter how thoughtfully it's crafted. This goes double for cold emails, which are generally at the bottom of most people's to-do lists. People get busy, inboxes get full, and even the most well-meaning replies get forgotten.
- Sending a follow-up email is totally okay and isn't considered rude (unless you're being overly pushy, of course — which we'll help you avoid).
- It's a good idea to give a few alternative options in case the person you're contacting is busy or email isn't their preferred form of communication. Offer some choices to see if that makes a difference — for example, if you initially asked to meet up for coffee, try suggesting a virtual meeting instead.
- Keep your follow-ups short and to the point. If the reason you haven't received a reply is that your contact is busy (the most likely scenario), the last thing you want to do is take up even more of their time. Consider reducing what you're asking of them; for example, if you asked a few questions in your initial email, maybe restrict yourself to one important question in your follow-up.