How to Write a Follow-Up Email

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How to Write a Follow-Up Email

It's one of the basic parts about the working world:  Sending a follow-up email. From the job search to the interview to long after employment, knowing how to write a follow-up email is critical when it comes to working. But it doesn't always come naturally, making it a chore to those who'd rather not have to follow-up. It doesn't have to remain a headache! With a few quick tips, you can send professional, courteous, and effective follow-up emails.

Know Why You're Writing

woman and man shaking hands

There are many reasons why a person might be writing a follow-up email. Before you can even really begin to craft yours, you're going to need to know why you're writing it in the first place. Some of the most common reasons that a person will write a follow-up is because they're wanting information about something; they're hoping to schedule a meeting; they want to catch up; or, sometimes, they just want to say thank you.

Pick an Appropriate Subject Line

email on phone

While in more informal emails, you can choose something mundane, unnoticeable, or even, at times, fun, with a professional follow-up email, you're going to need to choose the right subject line. In this case, you should keep the subject work-appropriate, as well as detailed enough that the recipient can get the gist of why you're reaching out to them. Keep it short, but give the general idea. Try not to use the standard subject lines that blend in with other emails, though!

Make Your Context Clear Early

laptop on desktop

It might make sense, from the writer's end of the email, to explain yourself fully before giving context to the reason for your email. However, from the recipient's side of the screen, it's normally frustrating, at best. This makes them have to read and re-read your email so that they can put everything in the appropriate context. Instead, start off with the reason for why you're writing. You can elaborate with details later, but make sure the main point is included in the beginning.

Know When to Follow Up

laptop keyboard

Just like there are different ways and reasons to reach out to someone with a follow-up email, there are different times when it's appropriate. One of the biggest parts of writing a follow-up is learning when the appropriate time to send it is! For a “thank you” email, 24 hours is normally sufficient. Submitted an application? Wait about 48 hours. Haven't heard back from a meeting request or job offer? 1-2 weeks. Just catching up? Write every 3 months.

Avoid Overused Expressions!

email mail envelope

While it might not be a hard-and-fast rule to writing a follow-up, you should avoid using the overused expressions that those in the professional world are likely to see on a regular basis. These expressions are technically acceptable, but can begin to grate on the recipient's nerves after a while; you'll stand out more if you avoid them! The most common offender? “Just checking in.” Avoid, and your recipient will be grateful!

Writing a follow-up email can be difficult, at times. Knowing how, when, and what to include isn't always a simple matter. But, with these tips, you'll be firing off emails with no problems!

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