Lesson Wednesday

During the application process, it's important to follow up with your potential employer regularly. They may have many competing priorities and may even be disorganized. By following up, you can help your application stay at the top of their list. Our career services advisors will often follow up with an employer up to 6 times without a response before the company commits to an internship! When we hear back, the employers often thank us for our persistence. So don't be afraid to keep following up. Here are opportune times to follow up throughout the process.

One Week After Applying

After you submit an application, followup with the contact person for the job if you haven't heard back after a week. If you don't have a contact for the job posting, take a look at the lesson on cold emails. Here are points to consider when writing your email.

  1. Be polite and humble. Don't ever be negative or accusatory to try to get a response.
  2. Be specific when expressing your interest in the company or the position.
  3. State your qualifications for the position or your relevant career interests. Be succinct. This is not a place to copy your cover letter.
  4. Include your signature, contact information, and links to your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles.

Here is an example of what these points in action might look like:

Subject Line: Following up on Junior Software Engineer for Lowe's Innovation Lab

Hi David,

Last week, I applied for the position of Junior Software Engineer posted on Indeed for the team at Lowe's Innovation Lab. I was hoping you could provide me with your decision timeline.

I am very enthusiastic at the prospect of joining your team and bringing my skills in ReactJS and Redux, C#, and SQL to contribute to Lowe's efforts for more 3D visualization for their online store.

Please let me know if you need any more details about my application. I look forward to speaking with you and how I would make a great addition to Lowe's Innovation Lab!

Kind regards,

[Your Name]
[Your LinkedIn profile]
[Your GitHub Profile]

[Your phone number]

It's okay to address a person by their first name even without formal introduction. If you haven't seen any indication of a person's preferred pronouns or gender identity or you are just unsure - it's fine to exclude gendered titles such as "Mr" or "Ms" and use neutral (they/them) pronouns instead.

After the Interview

Follow-up no later than a day after every interview with a thank you email.

  1. Thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
  2. Include details from the conversation during the interview. For example:
    • Reiterate details from a project they described.
    • Thank them for clarifying a question you had.
    • Mention something that stood out to you or something you learned.
    • Reiterate how you would be a great fit for the company. Use experiences from a past job or a project that would be beneficial for the role.
    • Follow-up with any information you were not able to supply during the interview.

Here's an example:

Subject Line: Thank you, David! Great to meet the team yesterday

Hi David,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me and talk more about the Junior Software Engineer for the Lowe's Innovation Lab. It was wonderful to meet Sara and Pablo on the team!

I was happy to learn that the push to include 3D visualization in Lowe's online store is part of an initiative to be more accessible to customers with low mobility. I am even more excited to join a team that values ways technology can include people.

I was thinking about the challenge you described on how to teach customers on using 3D visualization to build more complicated home projects. From my past job as a kindergarten teacher, I found that presenting instructions with enthusiasm and keeping the number of steps low really helps with retention.

To get back to your question about the testing library I used for my React project - I was using the React Testing Library from testing-library.com. I prefer using this library because it encourages tests to resemble how the software is actually used.

Thanks again and looking forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

[Your Name]
[Your LinkedIn profile]
[Your GitHub Profile]

[Your phone number]

It is okay if you don't have something to say on all of these points. The goal is to be specific and make your interview experience identifiable - and hopefully relatable - for the reader of your email. Let's take a look at what a bad follow-up email might look like:

Hello,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I am very excited to be considered for the team. I am confident that my past experiences would be beneficial to your company.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my qualifications. I am looking forward to the next steps in the hiring process.

Thank you!

The main issue here is that the follow up is generic and contains no identifiers. In fact, it looks like a form that could be sent as a follow up to any company. Once again, make sure you are specific, address a specific person, and reiterate important points about your experience as well as specific points about the interview.

Lesson 13 of 17
Last updated February 17, 2021