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.
This is Ashley from Resume Worded following up. I know how busy your inbox must be, so just resending in case it fell through the cracks.
[ The original email should be included here ]
It's normal to not get a response with your first cold email. Your email has likely been buried amongst other emails in the recipient's inbox.
Send a polite short follow up like this template. Reply to your original email so the recipient can easily see your previous email.
I just wanted to follow up with you about grabbing coffee sometime this week.
If you are too busy to do this, I totally understand, and if it'd be easier, I'd absolutely be open to doing a phone/Skype call or just continue the conversation over email. Let me know what works best for you!
From: Ashley Wilson
Subject: Reaching out for career advice
My name is Ashley Wilson and I'm currently a final-year student at the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Architecture. I came across your profile on LinkedIn when researching RISD alumni in design and noticed that you've held some extremely interesting roles at T-Mobile, Facebook and Resume Worded. There aren't many people who have had such unique design-centric experiences at not only established companies, but also high growth tech companies and startups!
I'm graduating in May and I'd be so grateful if I could ask you a few questions about your career path and how you got to where you are today. If you have the time, I will come to you wherever you are, even if it is for 15 minutes.
Does anytime in the next week work for you?
A polite, short follow up like this template is clear and to the point. You can send something like this 4-7 days later.
Reply to your original email so the recipient can easily see your previous email. If you don't get a response to the follow up email, be respectful and don't follow up again.
Hi [Contact's Name],
I just wanted to follow up on the email I sent [when you sent your last email, eg. last Thursday, a couple of weeks ago] about [subject of your last email, eg. meeting for coffee]. I'd love to [thing you're asking for, eg. ask you a few questions about how you got started in the industry]. Are you free for a 10 minute Zoom call sometime this week, or is there anyone else you could put me in touch with? I understand if you're busy and appreciate you taking the time to help out in any way!
[The original email should be included here]
This follow-up is short and sweet. It reiterates your interest in getting in touch with them while providing some alternatives in case they're too busy to comply with your original request. It shows an appreciation for their time and avoids pushing for a specific response — remember that you're essentially asking them for a favor, so it's important to remain flexible and understanding.