The Art Of The Follow Up

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

Almost every young adult that I coach today when inquired about how they plan to follow up says, “I don’t want to bother them.” “I don’t want to be a stalker.” “I hope they call me back.

Here is a news flash, no one will be calling you back unless you make it a point to do so.

In my 30 years as a public relations and marketing expert, the art of the follow-up was the only way to get an answer, whether my client would be on Good Morning America or The New York Times.

I remember once I had an employee who when asked ”Did you follow up?” Indicated with pride that she did. When I inquired further what did the person say? She indicated, “I left a message.” With that, I responded, “You’re fired!

Now I know some of you are thinking that my response was harsh, but here is the reality no one is thinking about you when you leave a message, no one is thinking of you after they get your email, no one is thinking of you to call you back unless there is an immense value you are bringing to the table.

What is your value? That is something for you to determine. It could be the following:

• You have a tremendous background in the field.
• You have contacts that could help the potential employer or business expand.
• You know someone that knows them and you feel compelled to make that connection.
• You have worked for a similar company or competitor and are responding to their job opportunity and would love to chat further.
• You have been in a similar field and feel compelled to reach out to share your insights.

So what are the best approaches to following up? Once you have written your email, connected through LinkedIn, texted, or responded to a career opportunity, here are the 4 best ways to follow up.

Rules of an effective Follow up

  1. As I mentioned above, bring value. Make sure that every time you contact, you bring value to the conversation. It could be sharing an interesting article, or introducing someone.
  2. Timing is crucial. Most people follow up the day after, instead. I recommend following up the same day when the memory of you is fresh.
  3. Frequency. Be tenacious, don’t be afraid to bother people. Corporate America responds to emails within 24 hours, except for weekends depending on the industry. Don’t be afraid to email the day after with a note like “I just wanted to make sure I didn’t land in your SPAM folder”.
  4. Reintroduce yourself, your authority, credentials. Specify where you met or follow up with some memorable moment in the conversation.
  5. Be specific about what you want from the follow-up, make a Call To Action. “I’d love to take coffee some time. I am available X day at X time, but I’m happy to work around your schedule.”

4 Examples of amazing followings

Example 1

Hi Stan,

It was a pleasure having spoken to you today about the job opportunity and position with your company. I wanted to follow up today as we spoke, to let you know that I am interested in this position and would love the opportunity to speak further about how we can move forward.

In our conversation, you mentioned that you would like to meet Daniel at Company, I would be happy to make that introduction. I would be happy to make myself available on Tuesday, April 11th at 10:30 a.m., and Wednesday, April 12th at 4:00 p.m. however, I would be happy to work around your schedule and convenience.

I look forward to sharing this information with you that I know will help you to expand your company.

Example 2

Hi Susie,

Thank you for the amazing conversation. I truly enjoyed our talk this afternoon and look forward to speaking further about this position with your company.

What synergy! I can’t believe that you attended USC, studied abroad in Barcelona and your first job was with Real Life PR and Marketing. The exact path that I have been on even down to working at the same firm. I wish I had known you then as I am sure we would have enjoyed a drink after work together.

With that being said, I hope that I was able to convey my passion for your company and I look forward to bringing you my skill set and knowledge of the industry to you. I am happy to speak with your HR person to get the ball rolling and if in the meantime I can answer any further questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. I can make myself available on (date and time) however, I would be happy to work around your busy schedule. Again, thank you for sharing yourself with me and I look forward to having the opportunity to work with you as a junior account executive.

Example 3

Dear Mr. Hartman, 

It was such a pleasure meeting you to discuss the position of marketing director. As I mentioned in our conversation over the phone, since I was 10 years old I always had the ability to share thoughts and ideas with others and get them to buy into my concepts that will help them to enrich their lives. It is my passion to bring your clients to their rightful place and as I mentioned I have the ability to do just that with my ability to bring forth ideas and concepts and bring them to market in a unique and profitable manner. 

I look forward to continuing our vital conversation and appreciate your time in your busy schedule to meet with me. I look forward to the final word on Monday, April 11th, and look forward to the next steps. 

Thank you again,


Example 4

Dear Hugo,

Allan, your cousin who works for your company spoke so highly of you. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me as Allan and I have known each other for over 10 years now and in that time we have established an amazing working relationship as well as a friendship.

Allan indicated that when you were growing up you two loved to go fishing. Especially deep water fishing. I found that amazing, as for over 4 years now my family and I go deep water fishing off the coast of the Bahamas. Have you ever heard or been to Atlantis?

I am reaching out as Allan indicated that my background in the food industry might be of benefit to you as you grow your restaurant. In the past 5 years, I have worked at Casa D’Angelo, Pura Vida, and Raw Kitchen where I was responsible for managing the restaurant and growing it to over $5 million in revenue in the past two years. 

I welcome the opportunity to speak with you further as to how I can help you achieve your objectives and goals. I will reach out to Allan and perhaps we can continue to conversation at your offices next week? Thank you again for allowing me to come back in and show you the value I know I can bring to your restaurant.



Never give up!

Never give up until you get a yes or a no. Follow up each and every time you pick up the phone or write an email. Bring added value, bring a new concept, bring a new idea, bring another mutual connection. Find out all about who you have just interviewed. Bring the conversation and what you gleaned out of it in your follow-up email or conversation. But above all, don’t leave a message. Be the message that will get you hired. 

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