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How many follow up emails do you write?

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How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby SLC » Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:07 pm

Dear all,

maybe you can help me out?

I am interested in a postdoc in the industry. During a training I met someone who is working in a department where I would like to start my PhD. :) :) He told me I should mail him my cv and he will forward it to the department. That's what I did and he mailed me back that he forwarded it to the department. This happened 2 months ago. Three weeks later I wrote a followup email but unfortunately I am still waiting for a response.

In the meantime I have applied for a position at the department advertised on the homepage.

What would you do? Write another email? If yes, what should I write? Remind him of the resume and/or the follow up email? SHould I mention the application? Or is it better to forget about it? I am sure he is very busy and I do not want to bother him...

Any suggestions?
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Parker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:06 am

I could be wrong here but if I was in this situation, I would not follow up with this person anymore. There is a fine line between following up and being a pest. He forwarded your CV to the appropriate department. He cannot force the department to expedite the hiring process. It also sounds like you don't know him that well. You met him at an event and he did you a favour by forwarding your CV. The rest depends on how your CV stacks up against the competition. You have a few options now: A) try to convince the hiring manager to hire you B) or move on to the next gig. If I think the job is a good match for my skills and am in the top 20% of the resume pile, I would try to reach out to the hiring manager. Getting that face time can really make a difference. I would not bother if I thought I was in the bottom 50% (actually I probably wouldn't bother applying in the first place if I thought that). So this is totally a judgement call.

Scenario A.
Assuming I think I have a good shot, if I had a chance to find out the hiring manager's name during my previous encounters with this guy, I would seek out the hiring manger directly. If I can't find a phone number, I have tried jdoe@company.com and it has worked in the past. One can usually find some generic info@company.com or sometimes the email of the Communications or Business Development folks can be found on the website. If I know the hiring manager's name, I can use that with this info to make an educated guess as to what their email is. Although there is always a chance that it could go to the wrong person in the company. I would use this email as an opportunity for getting the hiring manager on the phone. i.e. I would keep it short and to the point by giving enough detail in the email to make him/her want to talk to you on the phone and not much more.

Scenario B)
I try not to tell myself not to dwell on any one job application, even if it's my dream job/dream company. You network a bit and write a polished CV and cover letter, and the rest is up to fate (i.e. whether you are a good fit and who your competition is). You can't force these things. They won't hire you if you are not a good match and even if they did, you wouldn't be happy there. That is not to say it's a reflection on you if they turn you down. It might be that you are too good for the position or someone from a competitor company applied for the job and had the perfect skill set. Regardless, you need to assess the situation and if it looks like it's not a good fit, the quicker you move on to the next opportunity, the better it will be for you (from a job search perspective, but also emotionally).

Anyways just my two cents. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows?
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Ana » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:58 am

I actually think that since you had only sent one follow up email after sending him your CV and there is now this new development of you having applied to a job at his company you should send him another email.

Just tell him you wanted to let him know you have just applied to XXX position in their department, thank him from his help when forwarding your CV, and tell him you look forward to hearing back from the application and maybe meeting him again if you get an on-site interview.

The purpose of the note should be to tell him about your application (which is new), not so much to talk about the CV you had sent him.

People is busy but they read emails. They don’t hate you for following up.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:43 am

I had a long post written about followups and their importance (I work in sales and following up is 80% of what I do), but I think this is aside your original question.

You are applying to a PhD program? Each one has a process and deadlines (in the US, at least). Every one I have seen has this outlined on its website.

Above all I would suggest talking to the program coordinator, usually a non-scientist admininistrator who handles the intake. The process is hopelessly academic: you need an official application, statement of intent, letters of reference, etc.

Followups can be with the coordinator or the head of the program (usually a professor).


Dave
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby NKC » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:43 am

I agree with Ana's approach.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby NKC » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:44 am

Ana wrote:I actually that since you had only sent one follow up email after sending him your CV and there is now this new development of you having applied to a job at his company you should send him another email.

Just tell him you wanted to let him know you have just applied to XXX position in their department, thank him from his help when forwarding your CV, and tell him you look forward to hearing back from the application and maybe meeting him again if you get an on-site interview.

The purpose of the note should be to tell him about your application (which is new), not so much to talk about the CV you had sent him.

People is busy but they read emails. They don’t hate you for following up.


I agree with Ana's approach.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Nate W. » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:01 pm

Send one or two emails then follow-up by phone. If you reach voicemail, call the main number and ask to speak to their administrative assistant. I think people scan their emails and if they don't recognize your name, they ignore it. A phone call or a referral email from above or a recognized colleague has a much great impact.

PS: Surprisingly, old school approaches of snail mail and faxes can be far more effective than email.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby John D. D, » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:21 pm

I think it is important to try to figure out what happened, so that you can have more success in other applications. Since you did not get a reply with the 2nd email you sent, there may be something that discouraged the person in your CV.

Although most people would rather not discuss a problem when they can just look the other way, one approach would be to assume the worst, prepare to accept it and move on. A preparatory email along the lines of "I realize that my CV or history may have had some shortcomings in the eyes of the applicant review board, and in the absence of a reply, I have decided to pursue other options. Would it be possible for me to talk to you by phone regarding what I might do to improve my chances in my next application, or other avenues that would be recommended? I realize you are busy, and thank you very much for your original offer of assistance."

This might work, maybe 5-10% of the time, with really good people. If it does work, take the outcome as 1 person's point of view of how you should proceed.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Albert Chen » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:26 pm

The golden rule of e-mails: only send e-mails when you have some value to offer, something that will help them. You already offered your CV and your connection, and already presented yourself as someone to recruit. That was good.

But for follow-up e-mails, that means you must have something NEW to offer. For example, say you just obtained a Tech Transfer internship at your university where you can learn new skills. Then you can e-mail this first person, update them, and ask their advice on what skills you should focus on building at your internship so you can do the best job at their company. It's in their interest to respond to you.

Or, you can send them resources, connections, or a project you did that will help them do their work.

When networking, never fixate on obtaining lots of connections. Instead, networking is a way to figure out how to best help others.
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Re: How many follow up emails do you write?

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:54 pm

Just curious -- has anyone actually heard of networking helping them in the hunt for a PhD program application, as per the original poster?

It's been a while but I remember mixed messages for applicants choosing a department based on a professor they want to work with. It came across to some as showing initiative, and to others as showing naiveté.

I personally don't think it plays particularly well with the admission committees, since they will obviously be staffed with PIs you won't be working for.
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