Email Etiquette: Contacting the Hiring Manager

We’re continuing our series on email etiquette for job seekers with some advice on how to best follow up with a decision maker without sounding desperate or being a nuisance.

After submitting an application, it’s often considered best practice to follow up with the hiring manager if possible. In general, it’s ideal to send your message to an actual person, rather than a generic inbox. However, keep in mind that some recruiters might be turned off by candidates who do not follow explicit instructions in the job posting. If it says not to call or walk-in, for instance, then it’s probably best not to do so.

When crafting a message to a potential employer, it’s difficult to know what level of formality to use. Some companies will appreciate a more formal tone, while others might be looking for a little more personality. We suggest researching the company thoroughly to get a feel for the voice and culture of the business. Without being too stalker-y, it might also be helpful to do some research on the person you’re contacting as well.

If you’re not sure who to send the message to, try searching on LinkedIn or Google for the hiring manager’s name and email. The search may not lead you to the hiring manager’s direct email address, but it might show you what formula the company uses for all of its employees.

We recommend keeping your message as simple and concise as possible. The wonderful folks at the Muse have even provided an excellent follow-up template to help you get started:

Subject: Following up on [position title] application

Hi [hiring manager name],

I hope all is well. I know how busy you probably are, but I recently applied to the [position title] position, and wanted to check in on your decision timeline. I am excited about the opportunity to join [company name] and help [bring in new clients / develop world-class content / anything else awesome you would be doing] with your team.

Please let me know if it would be helpful for me to provide any additional information as you move on to the next stage in the hiring process.

I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

Here’s another tip: If you’re sending a resume or cover letter as an attachment, don’t forget to save the file as a PDF. This will help prevent any formatting glitches when the hiring manager opens the document. Don’t forget to give the file name a professional title as well. As always, it’s good to get another opinion before hitting the send button. And whatever you do, please don’t be this guy.

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