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.

Email Etiquette: 8 tips for job seekers

Happy Holidays from all of us at Peak Performers! We hope you enjoy a restful and fulfilling season with friends and family.

Don’t take too much time off from your job search, though. According to some career consultants, the holiday season might actually be the best time of the year to get your resume out there. With more people taking time off to relax, you could find yourself facing less competition. To help get you started, we’ve compiled some of our best email etiquette advice, so you can tackle the job hunt with confidence while sipping on your favorite holiday beverage.

  • Practice proper email etiquette. In general, your messages should include full sentences, short paragraphs and detailed information on who you are and the purpose of your correspondence. Avoid all caps, acronyms or slang, emoticons, and unprofessional signatures. Keep the message as concise and to the point as possible. This might all seem obvious, but you’d be surprised.
  • Be overly polite. Keep in mind that email communication can be easily misread, and it’s best to err on the side of formality. Many people try too hard to stand out from the crowd and end up coming across as unprofessional or condescending. It is possible to be both professional and personable.
  • Utilize the subject line effectively. The subject line is one of the most important components of any email message. Make it easy on the reader by clearly and directly reflecting the contents of the message (Jane Smith: Accountant Position is better than Hi!). 
  • Audit your online presence. It’s a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile before you get too far into your job search. For better or for worse, many recruiting software programs automatically identify your social media accounts and add them to your candidate profile. It’s never too late to delete your old Myspace account.
  • Use a professional email address. We recommend an email address that matches the name on your resume. Many companies also use Gmail as their email server, which means you should also make sure you have a professional-looking photo attached to your account.
  • Follow the application instructions. When submitting your application in response to a job posting, remember to read the job description thoroughly prior to jumping in and making a mistake. This can be hard to do, especially when you find that perfect job opportunity. Reading the instructions can save you time, and failing to follow directions is an easy way for decision makers to exclude your resume from consideration.
  • Pause and proofread before sending. Slow down, take a deep breath, read everything, and then read it again. If you’re still unsure about the wording or tone of your message, have someone else take a look at it. Have you ever wanted to un-send a message just after you’ve sent it? Now you can with Gmail’s Undo Send option.
  • Schedule your messages to be sent laterMost studies show that Tuesdays mornings are the optimal time to send emails based on message opening and response rates. Boomerang for Gmail is a simple extension that allows users to write a message and schedule it to be sent at a later time.

So before you send out a slew of networking emails at midnight, you might want to at least update your LinkedIn photo. Don’t end up on a list like this one.