The Follow-Up Letter: The Forgotten Career Search Tool

career professional sharing tip sheets with a client

By Lori Jazvac.

Here is a typical scenario: two sales candidates with excellent credentials apply for the same position but one authors an inspiring follow up letter that gets read by the prospective employer while the other does not even bother to follow up after a few weeks of submitting the application. Can you guess which candidate will get an interview?

Writing a follow up letter could, in fact, transport a résumé to the top of the file as it demonstrates enthusiasm for the position, open communication, propelling the jobseeker and prospective employer to both move forward with the status of the position.

Career practitioners and jobseekers, there is one crucial element that needs to be a part of your career toolkit: the follow up letter. Job seekers often make the mistake of thinking they will not need a follow-up letter when the opportunity suits itself. Rather, they wait for a response from the employer for weeks even months, without being proactive while getting frustrated and stuck in their job search.

Follow-up letters serve several goals and aim to:

  • politely remind the prospective employer of the candidate’s interest in the position, showing what the candidate can offer the company
  • establish a rapport with the prospective employer
  • re-introduce the candidate to a prospective employer and invite opportunities for arranging an interview
  • check for new job leads or additional information or status of application
  • generate a response of interest from the prospective employer or convey next steps in hiring process
  • allows the candidate to reiterate their strengths and unique value proposition
  • empower the candidate, especially after an interview
  • solidify the candidate’s position with the employer and clarify information that may have not been addressed
  • highlight the candidate’s personalized career brand and qualities such as effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • generate goodwill between the prospective employer and candidate, which may lead to current or even future career and networking opportunities or resources
  • provide the candidate greater peace of mind knowing that they are proactively asserting themselves in furthering their career search through professional networking
  • express gratitude after an informational interview or a job offer
  • revive a job search by reconnecting with a contact with whom the candidate has not spoken in a while

A follow-up letter should inform the reader that you appreciated your initial meeting and where you stand in your current job search. Do not forget to mention anything relevant that has occurred between the initial meeting and present, especially if you have graduated or reached out to any specific contacts. Politely indicate what type of information you need such as additional contact names or job leads. The most important element in follow up letters is to convey a professional and respectful tone while highlighting your added value to the prospective employer’s organization.

So the next time you decide to neglect the follow up letter, please reconsider. It could boost your job search, expand future career prospects, and heighten your credibility!

Lori Jazvac Creative Horizons Communications | Resumes


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