The Follow Up
Thanks again to Nikki for providing today’s topic in our Beginner’s Series – how to follow up on those queries you’re now crafting with ease.
Once you’ve waited your requisite amount of time (I admit – this is an arbitrary decision – despite what I said earlier, sometimes you just know when it’s been long enough), it’s important to follow up. But how? What do you say? Let’s help you over this one with a for instance – Suppose you sent out a query to our fashion magazine listed in the post from last week. It’s been about three weeks and you’ve heard nothing back. What to do? Given that you sent your response in email, that’s how you should follow up. And here’s what you might want to say:
About three weeks ago I sent my credentials to you for consideration for your fashion writer position. Have you had the opportunity to take a look at my portfolio and resume yet? Please let me know if I can be of help to you in any way.
Short and sweet. No need to belabor the point. In fact, make life easier for your potential client. Send your follow-up email as a response to your original one. By piggybacking onto that note, you save the client the time it would take for him or her to dig up your original query. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to paste in one or two of your attachments in case the original attachments landed your query in the junk sender box.
A snail-mail query is a bit different. Here, your original letter may have been rerouted to the desk of a now-forgotten colleague of the original recipient. A bit of a reintroduction is in order:
About five weeks ago, I sent my credentials to you for consideration for your fashion writer position. Have you had the opportunity to take a look at my portfolio and resume yet? If not, allow me to refresh your memory – I am a full-time writer by day and a closet-loving fashionista by night. I am on a first-name basis with local boutique owners, and I run a successful fashion weblog.
I am resending my resume and portfolio for your convenience. Thank you again for your continued interest. I look forward to working with you soon.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be brain surgery. In email, you have the opportunity to be a bit more brief, a tiny bit more informal (though saying something like, “Dude – have you died? What’s up with my resume, you putz?” might not go over too well), and you have the real chance for a conversation, albeit a small one. For when that client writes back, you can respond with thanks and maybe another leading question, such as, “Good luck on your project! By the way, do you have a weblog?”. Anything that comes naturally to the conversation that could lead you to more than just a resume relationship with the potential client.
Take every opportunity to get in touch with those who haven’t answered your query, and do so in a way that’s memorable (in a good way). If you approach your communications in a relaxed, open style, the client will remember you as a person who might just work out better than the last writer, who couldn’t be bothered.